The Basketball Tournament (TBT) will culminate tomorrow (8.3.18) with a $2 million, winner-take-all game live on ESPN. The event, now in its fifth year, is thriving; TBT signed a major sponsorship agreement with PUMA for the ’18 tournament, has placed more games live on ESPN than ever before and is using a radical solution designed to create excitement (and eliminate the incessant fouling) at the end of games. We had the chance to connect with the reigning 2x MVP and Back-to-Back-to-Back TBT Champion (as a member of Overseas Elite) Kyle Fogg, just ahead of today’s semifinal contest, to talk about PUMA’s involvement and his decision to play overseas instead of pursuing an NBA career.
JWS: Puma is sponsoring The Tournament and outfitting the teams (uniforms, shooting shirts), but players are permitted to wear the sneaker brand of their choice. That’s not the case for your professional team, though is it?
Kyle: The Chinese Basketball Association is sponsored by Li Ning, the same brand that Dwayne Wade and C.J. McCollum are signed with; so, everybody has to wear their shoes. If you wear another brand, you must cover the logo. I wear Nike’s and cover the logo, but this year I’ll probably wear the new McCollum’s that came out. I won’t be personally sponsored by them, but it will be OK to wear those shoes since the league is sponsored by that brand. Players that have shoe contracts with other brands are allowed to wear their signature shoe. There are guys on the Chinese National Team who are sponsored by Jordan Brand and they’re allowed to wear what they want, they don’t have to cover the logo.
Editor Note: PUMA’s participation in TBT is notable as the company chose just 2 partners to invest in as it relaunches itself back into the basketball space; the NBA is the other. PUMA has also committed to offering a blanket endorsement contract to any TBT player that makes it to the NBA during the ’18-’19 season. It’s certainly possible, 16 players did it last year.
JWS: You played one season in the D-League, back when player compensation was low; that’s no longer the case with 2/3 of the players making $70,000 + medical. If that offer was on the table back when you made the decision to go overseas, would you have stayed?
Kyle: I decided to go overseas just because the money wasn’t great in the D-League. I wanted to be able to help my mom and make some money while still doing what I love. If the compensation was better, I probably would have thought more about sticking it out and trying to make the NBA; I think that’s why a lot more guys are doing that now, it’s possible to make a living now playing here (U.S.).
Editor Note: Kyle is playing under a 2-year $2 million contract in the CBA.
Howie Long-Short: Puma SE (PMMAF) reported a +42% YoY increase in profits (to +/- $36 million) on revenues that rose a currency adjusted 15% YoY (to $1.2 billion) during Q2 ’18, as all regions and product segments reported double digit growth. The performance would have been stronger had euro been stronger, the national teams they sponsor performed better and if they were seeing returns (not just marketing expenditures) on their basketball business. Shares dropped -5.5% on the news and have continued decline since, closing on Wednesday at $500.91.
Fan Marino: Kyle Fogg was a part of University of Arizona legend Lute Olson’s final recruiting class. A 4-year player, Fogg finished his senior year on the All-Pac12 first team in 2011-2012. I had to ask Kyle a few Wildcat related questions.
Fan: How come there is no Arizona team in The Tournament?
Kyle: Most of the guys are in the NBA and they can’t play.
Fan: Who was the best player you played with at Arizona?
Kyle: Derrick Williams. His sophomore year was unbelievable. He dominated everyone, I’d never seen anything like that. He was unstoppable.
Editor Note: These 2 videos highlight the most memorable moments from Derrick’s sophomore season. Enjoy.
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