Brand Baron…

Jon Wertheim in Sports Illustrated this week has a very good look at the Clippers Baron Davis and the steps he has taken to try and expand his business interests, invoke his passions, use his position as a platform for social change and still play good basketball. In a time where fans are always looking for reasons to root for a player and brands are looking to identify with athletes who are attempting to do more and set themselves apart as more than athletes, the Baron Davis story is a good one. He has used his ability as an athlete to effectively help those through charity work which he genuinely is involved with and he took the chance (one that has not panned out) to go from a situation as an athlete late in his career from a thriving (and now also downtrodden) Golden State program back to his hometown of LA and sign with the Clippers. Eventhough at the end of the day the dollars were there for the move, Davis made it clear that the change was about more than basketball and he has backed it up with his film production work and his access t. mor.diverse companies in a major market.deal with Jenny Craig shows his diversity of interest and appeal to brand. Now does this all happen overnight and in a vacuu.? No. It came through a well thought out strategic plan that involved both athlete and busines.team, and one that has Davis has a strong figure both on the court and off. His role as an All-Star also helps, but he has been able to build and leverage his status as an athlete, which helps the NBA, his team and sets.good examples for players who may want to diversify and use their time as an athlete as a platform for “whats next.. Now are there arguments that Davis has put all these things before his team, thus resulting in the Clippers disappointing seaso.? Yes. Have some of these things created a distraction for the tea.? Perhaps. But in this environment where fans and business partners want not just access but the ability to use their investment on many levels, the Davis brand can deliver for the long term.

Some other good reads…the NBA continues their brand innovation push with a good Marketing Daily piece on a new promotion with MasterCard…Matt Futterman has a good read on the Maple Leafs push to restore brand on wsj.com…the New York Times has a good piece on how the economy will effect minor league baseball as well.

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