Brandon Jennings – From Compton to Rome

21 11 2008

jennings-in-rome

The Man: Brandon Jennings.  6’2″ point guard from Los Angeles, CA.  Left handed.  Cousin of NBA point guard Marcus Williams.

Averaged 35.5 points, 7.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game in his senior year of high school.   Earned high school basketball’s most prestigious award including the 2008 Naismith High School Basketball Player of the Year.

Jennings is the first player to play for a European team rather than play for a college team since the NBA’s age restriction was implemented.

The Contract: Jennings has a three-year contract for a guaranteed $1 million from Virtus Roma, but he has an option to enter the NBA draft after Year 1 and 2 of the deal.  Jennings’ also signed a four-year contract with Under Armour that will pay him comparably to the top three picks in the 2008 NBA draft.

Their dedication to Jennings’ marketing is exemplified here

But, as Jennings says, ‘The focus in Italy is on winning.  If you don’t win, you might not get paid’

Click the jump for more info and a jaw-dropping highlight video of Jennings.

The Team: Jennings signed with Pallacanestro Virtus Roma of the Italian pro league.  Well-known players that have played with the club include George Gervin, Rick Mahorn, and Danny Ferry and others.

The Endorsements: Under Armour gave Jennings a four-year endorsement deal, banking that he could do it all, and more.   After starting a basketball branding division, Under Armour immediately invested in Jennings, hoping he can help them compete with Nike and Adidas.  Their motto:  New basketball company, new basketball frontier.

To Sonny Vaccaro, the godfather of the basketball shoe deal and orchestrator of this one, this feels like it did when he put Nike and Michael Jordan together in 1984.  “This is almost like what Michael did, because he could’ve gone to Adidas, which was still part of Converse,” Vaccaro said. “Nike was practically nothing. I told Brandon and his mother: ‘If you hit with Under Armour, you’re the man there.'”

ESPN interview with Brandon Jennings

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