Tuesday, July 04, 2006

10 year old being courted by Addidas

If things continue like this, then recruiters and shoe companies will be following kids from birth.
A 10 year old basketball player in Baltimore is already being followed by Addidas. This is most ridiculous thing I have ever read. Justin Jenifer is the 10 year that is striking everyone's fancy.

Across the gym, Scottie Bowden pulled down a flat-brimmed Washington Nationals hat until it almost shielded his eyes. A representative of Addidas, Bowden had invested many weekends and about $20,000 of company money in Justin and his teams. Bowden had provided the boy and his teammates with sneakers and travel money to tournaments in an effort to build brand loyalty in a 10-year-old with distant NBA prospects. In Justin, had Bowden accurately identified a star?

How exactly does an adult go about trying to figure out whether a child will achieve such greatness in adulthood. Does he go and look at family tree lines and genes? Does he just scout the kid for a time period? I think at 10 it is almost impossible to tell if a kid will develop the body necessary for basketball or if he will still want to play in the future. Some kids quit sports when people around them take it more serious than they do. Take for example his father.

Here's what Howard Jenifer had to say;
"I always tell Justin: 'Get to 6-2 and we're good. We're good,' " Howard said. "But if he stops growing way early and everybody else keeps shooting up? Then that's it, man. That's a wrap. We might as well go try badminton or something."
He was speaking of his size of 5'10 and mothers size of 5'2. What's going to happen to this kid if he grows no taller than say 5'8, his parents need to be focusing on his education, if genetics fail him then his parents will have failed him.

Here's what Howard makes his son do to get into shape: He has to run up and down 240 rows of stairs in a bleacher in 100 seconds or less twice a week, 25 pushups before dinner, jump rope 100 times in a minute, make 14 straight free throws and shoot 300 jumpers. This is the stuff of legend little league fathers. If there is one way to burn out a kid at 10 years old is to put him through some kind of army physical and make him practice hours on end. That's why most kids quit sports because they have parents that couldn't make it on their own so they use their kids for retirement or to live vicariously through them.

But getting back to Addidas. Addidas rep Scottie Bowden gets paid to find these young kids and get them into Addidas gear. Bowden started following Justin at 9 years old.
"It's about brand loyalty, " Bowden said. "If you're in my uniform at 10 or 11, maybe you will stay with me later on. I'm not always happy we're focusing on 9-, 10-, 11-year-old kids. That's so early. But this is a business. And if that's what I've got to do now, then that's what I'm going to do." Why couldn't this have been going on when I was 9 throwing shutout games striking out 12 or more.

This craziness of looking for the next LeBron James at 9 is getting out of hand with these shoe companies, it's not going to stop unless there is some regulation put against it but that's not likely to happen. These companies need to let these kids be kids and not some superstar at 10 who hasn't even developed physically yet. They have these kids focusing on sports when they need to be focusing on education and life.

I can't wait to read up on the next kid when he's only 4 or 5, I'm sure that's not too far off into the future.

Click here for the entire article.


At July 05, 2006, Blogger JET said...

It seems that creating star athletes (i.e. Michelle Wie, the Williams sisters and Tiger Woods) is the new get rich scheme for parents.

At July 06, 2006, Blogger Joshua said...

I wouldn't mind addidas sponsoring my child. I would love to retire off my childs success. j/k

In all seriousness, 10 is young. Very young. I can't even remember being 10. I feel like I woke up one day and I was 14. Everything else is a blur.


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