Thanks to salary caps and luxury fees in today’s League, there is one place is where the real money is located in the National Basketball Association in 2010 — endorsement deals.
But besides the money, advertising has helped shaped our perception of certain athletes, even up to changing the very fabric of society in some instances.
Advertising is a decisive factor as to how Michael Jordan became so ingrained into our day-to-day lives, why Charles Barkley has had a longer shelf life in the spotlight than a superior player like Hakeem Olajuwan, why many have become annoyed with Lebron James, and why at one point our only position on Spike Lee’s career was: “Who’s the dork that gets to hang out with MJ?”
It is a tad important.
So this makes last night’s NBA Draft important for reasons off of the basketball court as well, as many companies get their first look on national television at players’ style, personality, charisma, sense of humor, or any number of assorted factors that go into extending an offer to professional athletes in today’s market. Little was it discussed by Jay Bilas, Chad Ford, and the ESPN gang, but the Garden was not the only Madison buzzing with NBA excitement yesterday evening.
Madison Avenue was alive, too.
So although a small handful of players will ink shoe deals right off the bat, many will need to sort through other business opportunities to meet their financial needs. Below are some of the more intriguing possibilities these future NBA players have.
And if a few players are not listed, just remember: Not everyone is cut out for the small screen. Let’s get started...
The safest pick in the draft could not be a better fit for a company based off of security and protection, to the point where it is almost eerie how this endorsement deal has so easily panned out for both parties involved. The Kentucky point guard, the landslide No. 1 pick on Thursday night, could be picked up as soon as possible by ADT following last night’s draft.
Battling his past legal issues of breaking and entering back in high school, how natural would it be for ADT to sign on such a star-studded spokesperson to reinforce those unrealistic commercials where blue numbers from the Matrix are swirling across the exterior of some perfectly normal-looking suburban home?
Even his name is perfect for a security company. Wall?
Could not script it any better.
New slogan: “Make it so that the only way I can come into your home, is through your TV.”
Another easy selection here, as someone who has repeatedly been dubbed a “Swiss Army knife” by the media in the buildup to this draft should only be endorsing one of the world’s leaders in that product.
Victorinox should move quickly on Turner in the coming days by finalizing an agreement that would prevent him from any other deals with competing organizations or hyping the next Dwight Yoakam record (Just an irrelevant Ohio State alumni reference there. I have no shame).
New slogan: “Victorinox: The only thing that isn’t booed in Philadelphia.”
As he was painfully stomaching an underutilized, underperforming season at Georgia Tech, Favors was forced to take a back seat to upperclassman Gani Lawal.
Although possibly better than Lawal at nearly every aspects of the game, Favors seemed perfectly content to ride Lawal’s coattails all the way to a large NBA payday — which is exactly what he earned on Thursday night as the third player taken in the draft.
Avis has become a popular name as well in recent years, riding the coattails of other car rental companies and being content with the slogan “We’re No. 2, so we try hard-er”. Who cares if Favors played a backseat to Lawal last season? The guy has become a household name anyways. If anyone, Avis can appreciate that perspective.
New slogan: “I was No. 3, so I try even hard-er.”
Following his incident with Mississippi State’s dial-tone-friendly fan base, phone companies have had Cousins on their radar for the past few months as a possible contender for upcoming advertising campaigns.
Verizon is refusing to step up to the plate, for fear that when Cousins says “Can you hear me now?”, that the response on the other end would be a resounding “No, speak up!” AT&T, despite the rumors, is sticking with Luke Wilson for reasons of continuity.
This leaves T-Mobile as the last possible contender to use the former Kentucky big man in their marketing scheme. Expect that same fake-phone-to-the-ear pose in upcoming commercials, featuring a Fave-5 listing of John Wall, Derrick Coleman, Pat Forde, Gavin Maloof, and Andrew Bynum.
New Slogan: “Uhsmsmmm Esrokfdmfjnn Jajhnn Essmmmm Calipari”.
Often considered the most skilled big man in the entire 2010 draft class, the Pistons first-round selection has also been noted as the softest big man of all the prospects.
With an instinctive passing game and a low-post presence that rivals only Rasheed Wallace circa 2010, Monroe’s Georgetown teams often found themselves in the toilet as far as Big East and postseason play is concerned.
Perfect irony for the Downy executives at Proctor & Gamble — just perfect.
Just imagine: Monroe shooting 3-pointers at the top of the key...him wiping off beads of (fake) sweat with the softest-looking towel in television history...a smile slowly developing as the towel graces his face...Dikembe Mutumbo wagging his oversized finger in the background.
Downy needs to move fast on this guy.
New Slogan: [Closeup shot of Monroe] “As soft as it gets.”
With the Rockets taking Patterson in the first round (pick No. 14), do not be surprised if the former Kentucky player ends up on your television screen in something other than an NBA game.
In a draft journal written for Sports Illustrated’s website, Patterson has already expressed interest and potential for MTV Cribs — even calling his version “PAT Cribs”. Who wouldn’t want to watch this show?
The lineup for the first few episodes: Patrick Ewing’s suburban home filled with posters of himself and Snickers bars; Pat Summerall flirting with nurses at the Lake City Retirement Home; Patrick Dempsey showing off his beautiful villa and Grey’s Anatomy eulogy; Pat Buchanan giving a tour around MSNBC headquarters and showing off his air mattress underneath the studio desk. Automatic DVR, at the very least.
New Slogan: “PAT Cribs: Where only the hottest stars let us into their homes.”
Does this mean we are going to have Luke Harangody and Brian Scalabrine on the same team? Yes, yes it does. And does this mean we could see a joint endorsement contract submitted by Green Giant, the frozen vegetables company, to both players? Yes, yes it does.
Do not get too worked up over nothing, but the word on Madison Avenue is that Green Giant has already hired advertising agency WPP Group to compile four commercials with Harangody and Scalabrine as dual green giants walking around the TD Garden.
There is a snag in the deal at the moment, however, as Scalabrine is refusing to budge on wearing the wreathe on his head instead of a green headband. Details to come.
New slogan: “Turn your freezer just a little bit whiter, er, greener.”
For extended coverage of these potential endorsement deals, as well as many others, visit www.walkingintothekicker.com, a sports website with only the most serious sports subjects in mind (sarcasm).
And yes, Al-Farouq Aminu and his glasses will be in attendance.