Fixing Nike's Relationship With USA Basketball Helped Draw Players, Other Sponsors
The "biggest schism" USA Basketball Chair Jerry Colangelo had to repair upon taking the role in '05 was the organization's role with Nike, according to an extensive look at the rebranding and rebirth of the organization by David Aldridge of NBA.com. Colangelo said, "The Nike relationship with the NBA had fallen apart. ... It was a matter of re-establishing a relationship. But I wanted to make it clear to them, this wasn't an NBA deal. This was USA Basketball. This is our own entity and brand. And that kind of opened the door." It "wasn't an easy sell with Nike, but ultimately, the company committed to a three-year deal." The hiring of Mike Krzyzewski to coach the men's national team also was made easier as he "had a strong relationship with Nike." Colangelo "knew if he got his foot in the door with Nike again, there was money to be made with them down the road," and "he was right." In the four-year period before the '04 Athens Games, USA Basketball raised just $9M, "with the NBA backfilling the costs." From '04-08, the organization raised $33M, and then $35M from '08-12. The organization then had "a who's who of corporate sponsors" by '12, including 24 Hour Fitness, American Express, Burger King, Cisco, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Gatorade, Jeep, Las Vegas Events, MetroPCS and Right Guard. Colangelo said, "We put together some really good partnerships. We have some heavyweights. And we have some pending that are new. Nike has stepped up not only for this quad, but they've extended through two other quads, going all the way to '24." Aldridge noted having Nike "was also a carrot for convincing players to come aboard." Nike gave USA Basketball "better access to" Lakers G Kobe Bryant and Heat F LeBron James (NBA.com, 7/29). USA Basketball today is also set to announce the organization will relocate its HQs from Colorado Springs to Tempe (THE DAILY).