We typically see large groups of branded basketball teams together on the AAU circuit at places like Nike EYBL or Adidas Nations, but now it’s coming to the college scene.
Andy Katz of ESPN.com is reporting that Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis has secured commitments from 16 of Nike’s most prominent sponsored schools to compete in a 16-team tournament to honor the 80th birthday of Nike co-founder Phil Knight.
The event isn’t slated to take place until 2017, with Knight’s birthday coming Feb. 24, 2018, but the lineup is impressive:
North Carolina, Michigan State, Duke, Kentucky, Oregon, Ohio State, Florida, Gonzaga, Texas, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Xavier, Butler, Stanford, Connecticut, and Portland.
“All of these great basketball programs have been supported by Phil Knight and Nike,” Hollis told ESPN.com. “His support of the programs have created scholarships and resources for these departments to excel.”
According to Katz, the format would be similar to that of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic, Anaheim Classic, and Old Spice Classic, and they are pondering the idea of tying the event in with the Jimmy V Fund for cancer research.
Hollis maintains that this event was not organized by Nike, and is rather a show of appreciation by the schools toward the shoe company.
That aside, an event like this would seem fitting for a company that owns an incredible 95 percent of the basketball shoe market, according to Bloomberg.
Grab some of the largest flagship schools and get them together for a tournament? Sounds only fitting for the king of basketball apparel.