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Volume 24 No. 179

Marketing and Sponsorship

Cavaliers F LeBron James during last night's game against the Wizards wore a special edition of his Nike LeBron 15 sneakers -- one white, one black -- "with the word 'EQUALITY' stitched in gold across the back of the shoe," according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. James has been "adamant about raising social awareness," and this is "yet another unique way to send his message." Cavs coach Tyronn Lue on Saturday night "had a conversation with James about possibly resting the second game of a back-to-back." But James was "emphatic about playing" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/18). ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin wrote the sneakers were "hard to miss," with the Cavs "wearing all-white uniforms that contrasted with the Wizards' navy blue uniforms." James after the game said, "We all know where we are right now, and we know who is at the helm here. Us as Americans, no matter the skin color, no matter the race, no matter who you are, I think we all have to understand that having equal rights and being able to stand for something and speak for something and keeping the conversation going (is important)." James said that a Nike representative "hand-delivered the shoes to the Cavs' locker room before the game, and he green-lit the concept." McMenamin noted James "changed out of the statement shoes after going 4-for-12 from the field in the first two quarters" (ESPN.com, 12/17). The AP's Howard Fendrich noted James in the Cavs' season opener "donned a pair of black sneakers with the 'equality' message." But this was the "first time James chose to wear one white and one black shoe" (AP, 12/17).

Three-time Olympic medalist short track speedskater J.R. Celski has signed an endorsement deal with Core Power high protein milkshakes for the Pyeongchang Games. Celski will anchor the brand’s “Unleash Your Awesome” marketing campaign. Core Power owner Fairlife LLC has official Olympic rights via part-owner Coca-Cola’s global Olympics sponsorship. Celski already has been announced as part of the Olympic marketing plans for IOC TOP sponsor Toyota and USOC sponsor United. He officially qualified for the U.S. Olympic team on Saturday.