With the Olympics less than three weeks away, the U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team is together and practicing.
In the meantime, they also appear to be doing promotional photoshoots.
On Monday, a photo of the squad posing in the gym was posted to Twitter by Nike’s Jordan brand.
As with many photoshoots, the arrangement and generally serious looks on the players’ faces is amusing. Frankly, it’s a somewhat awkward photo, particularly because of the way Jimmy Butler and DeAndre Jordan are squatting.
However, as Nick DePaula of Yahoo’s The Vertical pointed out, the arrangement serves a specific purpose — players with opposing apparel sponsorships were blocked out by Nike!
Nike, which sponsors Team USA, has done this before, as DePaula pointed out.
This, of course, recalls one of the original Team USA apparel scandals.
In 1992, the original Dream Team was sponsored by Reebok. After blazing through the Olympics to the gold medal, Nike had players cover the Reebok logo by draping American flags over their shoulders during the medal ceremony. Michael Jordan said at the time:
“Everyone agreed we would not deface the Reebok on the award uniform. The American flag cannot deface anything. That’s what we stand for. The American dream is standing up for what you believe in. I believed in it, and I stood up for it. If I offended anyone, that’s too bad.”
It looks like Nike again found a way to quietly cover other brands this year without being too obvious about it.
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