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Ben McLemore’s family struggles as Adidas profits off new jerseys he’ll model

Feb 28, 2013, 1:26 PM EDT

Ben McLemore, Sheldon McClellan AP

Adidas unveiled their new uniforms that six schools — Kansas, UCLA, Baylor, Louisville, Cincinnati and Notre Dame — will be wearing during March on Thursday.

And, well …

Camo, zubaz, sleeves.

It’s not exactly pretty.

But it’s gotten a ton of attention. Adidas was trending on twitter when the pictures first make their way onto the interwebs. There have already been more than 1,000 likes on our original post about the new uniforms, and that’s just NBC. Every college basketball outlet is seeing similar, if not bigger, numbers on their stories.

It’s safe to say that these uniforms have gone viral and are already generating tons of valuable publicity for the shoe company.

Which is timely, really.

The reason Adidas creates these uniforms and the reason that they spend millions of dollars to get their uniforms on the backs of the players at schools like Kansas is to sell apparel. Sneakers, jerseys, socks, shorts, underwear. Anything with a price tag on it.

In Adidas’ mind, the players are, more or less, acting as models — for free — while Adidas cuts a seven-figure a check from their massive profits to the University of Kansas.

Now read this story about Ben McLemore from Eric Prisbell of USA Today.

Do it.

I’ll wait.

You finished?

McLemore comes from nothing. His family was so broke growing up that they had 10 people living in a 600-square foot house where they had to decide between using their food stamps to get something to eat or selling them to keep the lights and the hot water on. According to McLemore, his mother is currently unemployed.

For the amount of money that his exploits on the basketball court have generated for everyone else, you don’t think he deserves a cut? You don’t think he family needs his share of those profits?

From the story it’s obvious that McLemore has embraced being a student-athlete, that he enjoys learning and that he’s bettering himself as a person while at Kansas. That’s great. I truly believe that an education is valuable, and I’m glad that McLemore is embracing the scholarship he’s been blessed.

But his family needs more. They deserve more.

They shouldn’t have to struggle to keep the lights on while McLemore is pimped out by a shoe company and the University they sponsor.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. truninerfan49 - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    WAHHHHHHHH. You have a full scholarship that millions of kids would kill for. Nobody is forcing you to play basketball. Go out in the real world and get a job if you want to get paid.

    • rejamaro - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      What a douche!!!!!!

  2. bculver2 - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    You ignorant jackass this kid has the opportunity to be a professional basketball, he should be in the NBA, but the NBA took that privilege a way from him. You must have no idea what its like to struggle to pay bills, support a family that is starving and living pay check to pay check. You are a moron this kid was given a gift and wants to provide for his family. These companies take millions from these poor kids, the least they could do is help provide for their families instead of shoving the student-athlete thing up their ass. Don’t you think that maybe if he didn’t have this gift he probably would be doing something else and have a job?

  3. clonefan - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    truninerfan49 – You need to develop a little bit of perspective and an ounce of sympathy. While it is true that millions would kill for his scholarship and nobody is forcing him to play basketbal, he is doing the right thing. He is playing by the rules. He has had a rough go of it and he make good come draft time.

    bculver2 – where did the NBA take anything away from this kid? Come draft time they will be giving him everything. Kansas and yes, even Nike have given him an incredible opportunity that he would never get if not for all of the $$$. Nike has taken nothing from this kid. Without Nike and Kansas and rabid fans this kid wouldn’t even have the opportunity to attend college which it appears he has taken advantage of as well. I just hope someone has made sure that he has taken money management classes so that we don’t read another story about him in 20 years.

    I for one am cheering for him to make it in the NBA and in life.

    Not so much in the Big 12 – Go Clones…. ;-)

  4. noozehound - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    You’re given a full ride scholarship at your college. Get your education, get a good job, then you can be the one who makes a good salary. Are a forgetting these players are getting a free $50,000 education?

    • kinggw - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      Thank you. I think its idiotic that people think college players should get paid. Not only do they get a free education, there are plenty of alumni that will line up to give the players that dont make it to the NBA a job. I feel for McLemore, but he will have the opportunity to provide for his family.

  5. bculver2 - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    He wouldn’t be in college if the NBA didnt change the age limit

    • clonefan - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      From reading the article I am not so sure that is true. I don’t know if he truely got enough recognition coming out of High School. His talent is much more recognized now then it was two years ago and he still needs to improve his game to make it big as a pro. I know he was rated pretty high, but the pros can sometimes shy away from kids like this one. You may be right or he could have still had to go this route. Either way he looks like a great kid and hopefully will do well…

  6. bculver2 - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    This allowing companies to use them for a few years. Dont you get it if the age limits stayed the same and not changes this kid would be providing for his family, and people wouldn’t have to bitch about him getting a free education, an education he probably doesn’t even want.

    • clonefan - Feb 28, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      Did you not read the attached article. It sounds like he actually wants the education. I’m not complaining about him getting a free education. I say good for him and take advantage of it while you are there. If he can go pro early and will truely make it, then do that. Finish hi education later.

      Trying to claim companies are using them is a false argument. Lets go the other way and say that Nike has to take all of their money out of college athletics. Now you will have the programs and their fans complaining because they don’t have enough money. The only money is from ticket sales. Because Nike is TV. Both sides are getting something valuable from this relationship. Nike gets sales and a profitable busines. Student atheletes get a free education and for a very few, a chance to show their skill before going to the next level. Take that Nike money out and the programs will all have to shrink back down to the 1960’s. Does Kansas want that in Basketball? Does Bama want that in Football? Heck, does Iowa State want that in either sport, yes, I am an Iowa State fan… Do we really want to take this off of TV?

  7. seanb20124 - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Instead of being layabouts on benefits, what prevented his parents from working?

  8. schlom - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Isn’t everyone involved using each other? The NBA is using the NCAA to development their potential players, the NCAA is using the players to profit themselves, and the players are using the NCAA to increase their future earning power in the NBA.

    The real villian is the NBA for forcing players who have absolutely no interest in the academic side of the NCAA to attend college for at least a year. If the NBA got rid of the one and done rule and set up their own development system we wouldn’t see these kinds of stories.

  9. billgatesbarber - Feb 28, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    They deserve more? seriously? Nobody is pimping this man out. I’m sure if he didn’t want to participate in the photo shoot he could have easily declined.

    People don’t deserve anything, they earn it. Perhaps we should let the adult family members take responsibility for their living conditions.

    Spending a year away from home at school and preparing for a career as a professional athlete with a large earning potential does not sound like a hindrance to me. It sounds more like the best recipe for future success. Maybe this guy stays in school for another season and has the chance to educate himself further about the financial situation of having more money than he ever imagined being only an ATM pass code away. Being “forced” to attend a university for a season, free of charge, is an opportunity not a penalty.

  10. Eric Angevine - Feb 28, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    I’d understand some of these arguments if it weren’t for Rob’s actual point – that the players are driving the sales. I’d think all the “up by the bootstraps” folks would be all about a person getting paid a cut of the money they earn for the company and the university. I mean, it would be different if Adidas were designing suit jackets for Bill Self to wear, or some dandy zubaz loafers for the AD to flash around campus, but their marketing campaign is dead in the water without the athletes. I don’t know what libertarian or conservative philosophy justifies that.

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