Anthony Davis was a class act, but did Select Basketball miss an opportunity to build its brand?
In early 2014, Select Basketball was presented with an interesting opportunity. Anthony Davis, a friend of a family in our program, was in the middle of his second season in the NBA. He wanted to do something nice for the family so it was suggested that he could sponsor our program.
After talking with Anthony and his agent, they offered to buy our top team new game jerseys and other gear. It was such a generous offer and appeared to come with no strings attached. We could work with his contacts at Nike to turn the gear around fast.
Select had never done anything like this before. It would be pretty cool to have a rising NBA star supporting us. We also needed a new set of jerseys so the timing was great and would save us a lot of money. With no strings attached, we gratefully agreed to move forward and see what would happen.
Did this bring extra benefits?
Having the support of the number one NBA draft pick does bring excitement. The kids were loving the gear they got and on occasion Anthony would come to watch their games. We even called the team Anthony Davis Select, though this was our idea and not something he had asked for. We wanted to show our thanks.
As we look back now, we do ask ourselves if the association with Davis helped in other ways.
We secured the players on the team before our new partnership. So it likely did not affect that.
We did get invited to a tournament in Portland that was a new opportunity. Our roster had three confirmed Division I players at the time. However, working with Anthony may have put us over the top.
The name Anthony Davis Select probably grabbed some second looks from people. Especially if they had not paid us any attention before. Some may have wondered why he was sponsoring a team from Montana and Idaho. Others probably thought “Anthony Davis” was a dentist or lawyer with a kid on the team.
If there is any second guessing about the season, it would only be in the branding.
As mentioned, this was a talented team. They made it to the final four or championship game in 5 of the 6 tournaments they played in. But as they continued to impress, the branding was attributed to Anthony Davis Select. The connection to Select Basketball was not there. Yet, much of Select’s branding is based on the style of play, not the name on the jersey. That piece remained in place.
Partnering with Anthony Davis was rare experience and one that we are very grateful to have had. The kids got an enhanced experience and as a program we got to try something new. Though it was a one time deal, it was definitely something we were glad to have been a part of.