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USA TODAY EXAMINES COMPANIES GUARDING THEIR SPORTS ENDORSER
Published January 8, 1998
USA TODAY's Money section cover story features, "Protecting the Investment," where Melanie Wells examines the relationship between sports endorsers and the corporate managers that companies provide. Reebok's Henry "Que" Gaskins is "one in a small group of corporate managers who play an unusual but increasingly important role in professional sports and product endorsement. Gaskins is a marketing MBA assigned to play full-time mentor, brand manager, companion and off-court coach to the young, trouble-prone" 76ers G Allen Iverson. Being "both buddy and adviser is tricky, but it's a role that's evolving in companies as highly paid professional athletes get younger and marketers compete more fiercely for their services." Nike's Dir of Athlete Relations Howard White, appointed by Nike to advise Michael Jordan in '84, on the athlete-manager relationship: "Just as if you drive a Ferrari, you need a good mechanic and a good garage to keep it in." Wells adds that advisers such as Gaskins and White "are the glue that keeps the most sought after endorsers affiliated with a particular company. Jordan admits White is one of the main reasons he stuck with Nike over the years" (USA TODAY, 1/8). STAR POWER: In N.Y., Paul Tharp examines how agents "are scrambling under new pressures to sell their stars in ways they never have before," and notes David Falk's brand extensions with Michael Jordan. Beanstalk Group co-Chair Seth Siegel: "Every celebrity is potentially a brand that will sell broadly. The trend is to extend them, wisely, into as many areas as possible" (N.Y. POST, 1/8).