Saturday, April 30, 2011

Watch out Nike... here comes China... Part 1

Every year it seems like Nike becomes more and more dominate the sports apparel market in the United States sports world. Nike in 2012 will be making all the NFL jerseys after it had already recently got the rights to the NBA jerseys.

Nike always has its first choice in which colleges and athletes they choose to sponsor.

Nike has names like Lebron, Kobe, and Durant who are the faces of the NBA. Yet slowly stars that are fading and others who are emerging like KG, Kidd, Shaq, Kevin Love, and Carl Landry have found sponsors of their own. These sponsors are just from the other side of the world.

The NBA has taken China by storm and with that comes the gigantic market and growing economy. Not only one but four Chinese companies have gone globally and have shown signs to having a large impact on sports apparel in the future.

Part 1: Li Ning
Li Ning founded by Li Ning famous Chinese gymnast winning 6 medals at the 1984 Olympics with 3 Gold. After he retired after the 1988 Olympics in 1990 he founded what is now a company that grosses well over a billion in revenues and has a large global reach.

Li Ning made statement with sponsoring Shaq in the past and now currently sponsoring both Baron Davis and Evan Turner.

Evan Turner:

Although Evan Turner has not had great success in his rookie season there is still a lot of potential and low risk investment for Li Ning. I believe Chinese companies are realizing that many different players can be marketable and by finding young players that might not have the large companies like Nike or Adidas approaching them.

Baron Davis:

Although many of us here haven't paid much attention since Baron basically took over verse Dallas in the 2007 playoffs, clearly Li Ning believes they can market and sell Baron to the global market.

Baron now has multiple shoes, shirts, and even action figures featuring his Mr. T look that seems to have caught on in the Chinese market where a BD beard is a rare as soccer fans in the United States.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mcfarlane Spring 2011

Ever since I saw my first Mcfarlane figure in 2006 I've been hooked. Of course never could justify the cost or the space to get every athlete I like, but once in awhile you will see me looking through ebay trying to find a old figure for a reasonable price. Mcfarlane has become the bench mark for sports collectible figures and have last much longer than many other brands. Even large companies like Upper Deck failed horribly at their attempt even though they had a quality product.

The most frustrating thing is Mcfarlane seems to produce far too many different figures to fulfill the demand around the country. I can't image anyone being able to collect every figure they want. Also there are way to many busts out there made into figures. For example Stephen Strasburg does not deserve the honor yet. And there honestly needs to be a cap on how many Derek Jeter figures are made (on their 5th one now). At least they finally made a Tim Lincecum figure which was well deserving just hope they stop there.

Finally there is now a Knick figure worth getting that wasn't already retired when it was made, and no Marbury was not worth buying and its also nice to see Rondo get the proper respect of being made into a figure as well. As much as I dislike the Heat I have the say the three pack with Lebron, Bosh, and Wade is pretty legit since usually there is always usually a figure you rather not get in these three packs, but I guess if I was a Heat fan I wouldn't mind pay less for just Lebron and Wade.

Lastly this first half of the year we will be seeing the next release of NFL players coming in June. Sadly there is another Brett Farve figure and like his career I always have to wonder is this the last Brett Farve figure we will see, my guess is no, and clearly Mcfarlane has an addiction to making Brett Farves and Wayne Gretzkys. As much as I love Aaron Rodgers I don't even I can get a third Rodgers figure in 2 years... sadly the figure I am most excited to see is Jared Allen, nice to see someone in the trenches make it even though as a Packer fan I would never purchase a ViQueen. Lastly the college line is coming out with Tim Tebow as a Florida Gator which is fitting since 10 years from now I think more people will recognize him that way more than in any NFL jersey (bias Longhorn fan Go Colt!) I have a feeling Tim Tebow will be the top selling figure this summer... Tebow fan are crazy...

Looking forward to the fall, and the next group of NHL figures!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Eddy Curry

A high draft pick, with great size, strength, and touch around the basket. Eddy Curry was built like the ideal center and a coach’s dream providing the opportunity to just dump to ball inside the paint for an easy two points. Eddy Curry was on the rise in Chicago until he started dealing with heart problems that led to Chicago unwilling to play him and forced to trade him to the New York Knicks.

To be honest New York was most likely the worse situation for Eddy, IsiahThomas was running the team to the ground, there was no winning attitude. Marbury seemed to have a falling out with everyone around him. As a knick fan this past decade still brings me nightmares, I had even let myself hope that two similar players like Eddy and ZBo could play together in the same front court or that maybe Jerome James would be decent after his playoff run the year before. The years Eddy was in NY there was no positive atmosphere, no meaningful games to motivate Eddy especially when it came to staying in shape.

Injuries and personal problems with past employees and then eventually money problems sent Eddy is a fast downward spiral. Eddy became a joke, there was always rumors of him working out in Chicago with a special trainer, him losing 50 pounds but refusing to play in the summer league. Yet every year he was out of shape and with all the extra weight a knee or hamstring injury always followed. I got used to seeing Eddy is a suit and when he did make it on the court I was shocked to see howsimilar Curry looked like a Umpa lumpa which is some feat for a guy almost 7 feet tall.
I really hope the Eddy Curry story does not end like this. Everyone hopes for an American dream, just like we enjoy watching John Daly in his colorful pants show up once in a blue moon and show us that a washed up overweight golfer can still do it. I hope Eddy's career with the Knick was only that middle low before he rises back up even if that means its with the hated Heat.

Hey you never know it could happen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

First thoughts on NBA Playoffs

It is clear that this year we see the beginning of change in the NBA. There is a strong contrast between the future of the NBA and the old guard trying for a few more deep playoff runs. Older teams like Boston, LA, and San Antonio have finally shown signs of being caught by father time, while the young Bulls, Thunder, Hornets, and Grizzlies have been impressive. Its amazing how most of the rosters of these 4 teams could all still have played in the NCAA tournament this past March.

When looking at the playoff landscape we have many stars who are viewed past there prime like Tim Duncan, KG, Kobe, Paul Pierce, Jason Kidd, Dirk to name a few. And many who are still in there early 20s like Durant, Rose, Westbrook, Noah, and Rondo. Only Miami and NY seem to have their main players in there prime. Clearly NY did not have the supporting cast or the health to compete, but this brings up the question is the window for the Heat starting to close before it has even opened.

I have always viewed the draft class of 2003 as one of the greatest drafts of all time. Yet 8 years after the draft only one of the top 5 picks has a Championship ring. Right now some could make the argument Lebron and Carmelo Anthony would make the top list of best NBA players without a ring. But what if the Heat fail to win this year, that will be one more year for Rose to become Jordan like in Chicago, for Durant and Westbrook to become the best 1 2 punch in the league at the age 23.

I'm excited to see how things play out, and the Hornets and Grizzles have made it clear they don't care how many rings you have or that the 1st seed is suppose to beat the 8th seed. Chris Paul said it all with his quote after game 4 verse the Lakers:
"He would do me the same way. It's all in fun, but it's our livelihood. I don't care if my mother was on the court. I'd hit her, too."
See you in round 2!