Louisville men and women’s teams go with Donovan Mitchell shoes

Donovan Mitchell left Louisville for the NBA following the 2017-18 season. His shoes were on full display during the exhibition game against Bellarmine (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Donovan Mitchell was between NBA games with the Utah Jazz and couldn’t physically make it for the exhibition game on Tuesday.  But his presence was felt by members of the University of Louisville basketball team.

Most, if not all, of the Louisville players were wearing a version of an Adidas line of shoes — red, yellow or black with pink soles — named in honor of Mitchell and provided to the UofL program. The Mitchell line has been designated as D.O.N. Issue No. 1, the letters standing for “Determination Over Negativity.”

Sports Information Director Kenny Klein confirmed that both the UofL men’s and women’s teams will be wearing Mitchell’s  shoes during the 2019-20 basketball season. “UofL will be the only college basketball teams using the style,” he said.

Mitchell, who left UofL after two seasons, is entering his third season in the NBA after averaging 20.5 and 23.8 points, respectively, during his first and second seasons. He is one of the youngest players ever to have his own line of Adidas shoes.

The former UofL star wanted his shoes to be more affordable to as many  kids as possible and are usually priced under $100. They can be purchased for as little as $43 at DHGate, a Chinese retail site and Card Game advertiser. 

My biggest thing, I just wanted kids to be able to have it,” he told Forbes Magazine. “Growing up as a kid, I loved all of these athletes and I couldn’t afford their shoes.” 

Mitchell often gives his shoes away to young fans following Utah games. Just this week he presented a pair of his newest “Mailman” style to a young Jazz fan involved in a fight for his life against brain cancer.

UofL’s Year of the Fan is for real, see Jerry Brumleve

Long-time UofL fans Jerry and Yvonne Brumleve are joined by the Cardinal Bird and Chick-fil-A cows.
Long-time UofL fans Jerry and Yvonne Brumleve are congratulated by the Cardinal Bird and the Chick-fil-A cows.

Pretty cool that Jerry Brumleve, an individual I got to know and respect as a friend and co-worker at Brown & Williamson a few years back, was the first big winner in the Cardinal Athletic Fund’s Year of the Fan promotion.

He and wife, Yvonne, won a trip to Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Classic football game between the University of Louisville and Auburn on Sept. 5. The prize package includes two airplane tickets, a two-night stay at the Renaissance Concourse Hotel (the team hotel), and a bundle of UofL gear.

They also were honored with a neighborhood party Tuesday, with none other than Mark Jurich, associate athletic director, the Ladybirds dance team, and some Chick-fil-A employees pouring out of a bus in front of their house on Tuesday. The Brumleves invited several neighbors to join the party.

“We had a great time,” said Brumleve. “We were shocked that we won and happy to get together with UofL staff and fans and, of course, the Ladybirds. We’re very appreciative and supportive of UofL sports.”

The only wrinkle is that the Brumleves had already planned to drive to Atlanta with some close friends and wanted to honor that commitment. With UofL’s okay, they gave the free flight and game tickets to their daughter Melanie and their nephew Ben Horn. Jerry’s generosity only goes so far, however. He kept the UofL gear.

Brumleve was one of more than 3,000 people who have signed up for the CAF’s Year of the Fan campaign during the first week. UofL is rewarding fans for their loyalty and support over the years. It is also open to UofL fans who are not season ticket holders.

Fans who enter will be eligible for free tickets to different games, seat upgrades, parking upgrades, concession discounts and VIP access to other events, reports Megan Gormley, executive director of development.  Already in the plans is another free trip with tickets and hotel accommodations for the ACC Tournament in March.

“The concept presents a great opportunity for us to thank our fans for their belief in our vision and for their unwavering support of Cardinal Athletics,” said Jurich. “They are small tokens of our deep gratitude for the loyalty of Card Nation.”

Upcoming promotions:

Aug. 28 – 40 tickets will be given away to the men’s soccer game vs William and Mary.  Fans who sign up online or use the Twitter hashtag #yearofthefan will be eligible.
Aug. 30 – Invitation to a rules session before the field hockey game. Fans who bring their Year of the Fan ticket will receive free popcorn at the concession stands.
Aug. 31 – 40 tickets will be given away to the men’s soccer game vs Stanford.  Fans who signed up online or use the hashtag #yearofthefan Twitter hash tag will be eligible.
Sept. 1 – 50% discount at Cardinal Authentic in Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium for fans who bring their Year of the Fan card.  The store will have extended hours for the day (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
Sept. 4 – Football locker room tour for five fans and guests.
Sept. 8 – 40 tickets to the men’s soccer game vs Kentucky.  Fans who sign up online or use the hashtag #yearofthefan will be eligible.
Sept. 11 – Free popcorn at volleyball for fans who bring their Year of the Fan ticket.
Sept. 12 – Fans who register online can receive upgrades to Loge football seating for the Houston home opening football game, upgrades to premium parking, pregame field access, drink coupons, and official Adidas gear.

Adidas remains right choice for Louisville basketball

The latest recruiting fiasco in which a basketball recruit chooses the University of Louisville only to quickly change his mind may have some administrators and fans wondering if UofL made a mistake in renewing their apparel and shoe contract with Adidas.

Antonio Blakeney so excited and committed when he announced, only to turn a cold shoulder 11 days later.3nikevsadidas

Back in April, UofL and Adidas agreed to a five-year deal valued at almost $40 million, placing Louisville among the top five athletic departments nationally in footwear and apparel rights among all brands. Tom Jurich said Adidas was the only company he had considered. Whether Nike would have wanted to be the provider will probably never be known, but the deal did not go unnoticed by Nike.

Nike is to tennis shoes what Marlboro is to cigarettes, the dominant market leader, with the inherent ability to set the rules and control the marketplace.  Only in this case, Nike apparently is able to exert its control even further, imposing its will on players, coaches, schools, amateur leagues and fans. Without any repercussions from the NCAA.

WDRB analyst Eric Crawford writes: “If you’re looking to fight the war of shoe company involvement in college sports, you missed it. It’s over. The shoe companies won.”  Then he goes on to suggest that it’s a good thing for players since coaches and schools receive millions of dollars from shoe companies.

While one may respect Crawford, he’s off base on this one, considering that college players aren’t supposed to be receiving extra benefits from anyone. Why not just go ahead and let the boosters fill the players’ pockets because they also donate millions to schools and athletic programs? Open it up for everybody.

While it may require a major sea change and considerable time, Nike’s pervasive influence in collegiate athletics can’t be allowed to go unchallenged. It makes a mockery of the amateur system, rewarding only those who perpetuate the deception.

If the ultimate objective is to preserve the integrity of college athletics, Louisville made the right decision in going with Adidas. If it’s anything else, everybody loses.

New Louisville uniforms for the post season

Can’t hurt. Might help.

The University of Louisville men’s basketball team will unveil its new, ultra-lightweight adidas adizero uniforms this week at the Big East Tournament.

Adidas says the new “InfraRED” uniforms will be more than 25 percent lighter than their previous uniforms. The attire features a “ClimaCool” zone, which moves heat and sweat away from the body for optimal moisture-wicking and breathability to keep jersey from gaining weight, a technology used in the NBA.

And get this: The shorts are said to possess a “four-way stretch woven material used to increase mobility and speed.”

Can’t wait to see that.

Adidas exclusives and discounts at new Cardinal Authentic store

Serious competition for Neutral Zone and J. D. Becker, discounts for University of Louisville season ticket holders.

The new U of L adidas team store, located on the east side of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, will open Monday. Special events daily during grand opening week, including a spinning wheel for discounts and giveaways. Store hours, 10 a.m. till 7 p.m. Monday through Sept. 3rd., the eve of the Louisville-Kentucky football game.

The store is Cardinal Authentic and will stock merchandise that cannot be found anywhere else. Season ticket holders receive a 10 percent discount. Just keep ticket stubs handy as proof.