SPORTING NEWS' Chris Littmann cited sources as saying that NBA Draft prospect Kyrie Irving "visited Under Armour's headquarters in Baltimore." However, a source said that no deal between Irving and Under Armour "has been reached." The Baltimore-based company is "best known for its football endorsers," but did make a "big splash in the hoops world" when it signed Brandon Jennings in '08. Irving is projected to be the No. 1 pick in the June 23 NBA Draft -- last season's top pick, Wizards G John Wall, signed with Reebok, while Clippers F Blake Griffin signed with Nike after being picked first in '09 (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 6/2).
MADE IN THE SHADE: Designer clothing brand William Rast and its eyewear license partner, Viva Int'l Group, have signed a multiyear deal for driver Danica Patrick to endorse William Rast Eyewear and William Rast Racing Eyewear. Patrick will wear the brand on and off the track and will be featured in upcoming ad campaigns. The deal coincides with the launch of the William Rast Eyewear line for men and women, as well as the William Rast Racing Eyewear collection. Singer and actor Justin Timberlake co-founded William Rast in '05 (THE DAILY).
YOUR NAME HERE: MLSSOCCER.com's Nick Thomas reported a jersey sponsor for the MLS Rapids "appears to be closer to reality than ever before." Rapids CMO Tim Hinchey said that he is "optimistic such a deal can be clinched by the end of next month, and that it will be done for sure by the end of the season." The defending MLS Cup champions are "talking with a number of parties about possible jersey sponsorship." Hinchey noted that those companies are "both locally based and headquartered outside of Colorado" (MLSSOCCER.com, 5/30).
THE BIGGER, THE BETTER: In Pittsburgh, Teresa Lindeman reports Dick's Sporting Goods is "stepping up the pace of its expansion," but company Chair & CEO Edward Stack said that it is "not yet time" to move into Canada. Stack said, "Our expansion will be in the U.S." Lineman notes Dick's had "almost 450 of its namesake stores operating in 42 states at the end of the first quarter," which is a "little more than halfway toward the 900-store goal that officials announced in the middle of the last fiscal year." The company "expects to open 34 new Dick's Sporting Goods stores this fiscal year, compared with 26 last year" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 6/3).