Nike Waves the Flag for USA Basketball

Nike Pro Combat Basketball Men's Shorts

Nike, which has been a sponsoring partner of USA Basketball since 2006, has extended the relationship. The program keeps Nike as exclusive on-court and apparel provider of the USA Basketball men's and women's national teams.

Nike will be the official supplier of "compression" products for the USA men's and women's teams with its "Nike Pro Combat" line. Compression products refer to the form-fitting padded shorts players wear under their jersey trunks.

The company will also sponsor USA Basketball-themed events and run media, advertising, and promotions, per USA Basketball. In addition, it will be an on-air presenting partner of USA Basketball exhibition games broadcast in the U.S.

The non-profit USA Basketball is recognized as the governing body for hoops in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation and the United States Olympic Committee. Member pro leagues include the Continental Basketball Association, NBA, NBA development League and WNBA.

As part of its prior sponsorship, Nike promoted Basketball Men's and Women's National Teams during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and was presenting partner of the five-part documentary series Road To Redemption, presented by NIKE, which aired on ESPN2. The series documented the entire story of the USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team.

Jim Tooley, executive director and CEO of USA Basketball, says Nike is the first of what the association hopes will be around 20 sponsors of USA Basketball's new quadrennial -- or four-year period -- based on the Summer Olympic schedule.

Tooley says that 90% of the two dozen or so competitions in which USA Basketball participates are outside the U.S., with the Olympics the most prestigious. "But in the basketball community around the world, the FIBA Men and Women World Championship in Turkey and the Czech Republic, respectively; the U19 (under 19) and U17 games; the World University Games; and Pan American Games are widely followed," he says.

Tooley says brands like Nike get broad international exposure with events like next year's World Championship Games in Istanbul, prior to which the U.S. teams will play exhibition games in the U.S. and Europe. "Nike will get exposure in the arena, but also through international and national broadcasts."

Nike unveiled new TV advertisements last summer, which ran during August and September 2008. The brand featured USA Basketball displays in their retails stores and online, and opened a special grassroots fan museum called "The Commitment Gallery" in Harlem, New York.

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