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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.

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