Hornets F Anthony Davis, the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, has "finalized an endorsement deal with Nike," his first pro endorsement deal. Davis "already has a 'Nike Swoosh Unibrow' print for sale" (SPORTS EXCHANGE, 7/16). ESPN's Darren Rovell on his Twitter account notes with the signing of Davis, Nike "has signed 7 out of the last 10 #1 overall draft picks" (TWITTER.com, 7/16).
HYPER COLOR: In Austin, Lori Hawkins reports locally-based Hyperwear fitness products company has "a new line of free weights made using rubber sandbags instead of hard metal," and is "now making sales in 20 countries." With former Nike Americas Sales Dir Denver Fredenburg as CEO, Hyperwear had revenue of $850,000 last year and "plans to more than double sales this year." Hyperwear's customers include the Austin, L.A., and Dallas school districts, the Univ. of Texas football and basketball teams, and Auburn Univ. football. The 10-person company "recently tripled its office space" by moving to a new 10,000 square-foot HQs in North Austin. Hyperwear now is "gearing up to raise a second round of funding to expand sales and marketing" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 7/16).
DRIVEN TO SUCCEED: NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is sponsored by the National Guard, which last week announced it was going to maintain its NASCAR deal. However, with U.S. Army's recent decision to end its sponsorship of Stewart-Haas Racing, Earnhardt said, "I feel that our program [with the National Guard] is really productive. Apparently they don't feel like theirs was productive. I feel like ours is successful. Marketing in any business is hard work, and, I feel like we do a good job of it and always have." Earnhardt added, "I'm just disappointed when any company or big entity like that leaves the sport entirely" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/13). Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, Curt Cavin wrote Panther Racing IndyCar team Owner John Barnes "has seemed confident about keeping the National Guard in recent conversations about it." Panther Racing "has been exceptional in building that program, which does more than just try to recruit soldiers" (INDYSTAR.com, 7/13).
CAN'T WAIT! ESPN.com's Doug Williams wrote under the header, "Athletes Trademarking The Phrase That Pays." Williams noted athletes such as Jets LB Bart Scott, Redskins QB Robert Griffin III and Knicks G Jeremy Lin have recently trademarked phrases, slogans or nicknames. N.Y.-based attorney Jaia Thomas, who specializes in intellectual property and represents athletes and celebrities, said, "One of the main reasons is for economic reasons. ... It's also good just in terms of brand building. As athletes start to build their brand it's good to start to protect their individual property rights as soon as possible" (ESPN.com,7/13).