Brandon Jennings hasn't always done the popular thing but that never seems to bother him, in fact taking the road less traveled seems to fuel him. The point guard, who has "Young Money" tattooed across his back, skipped out on a NCAA scholarship at the University of Arizona and became the first American born player to go to cross the bond and play professional basketball in the EuroLeague. In doing so, Jennings not only got paid by Lottomatica Roma but by Under Armour, who inked the 19 year old to a 2 million dollar contract. Jennings quickly became the face of the brand's basketball division that's known for performance apparel, but not footwear. His shoe, the Prototype I and now the II, comes in multiple colourways, but is not yet available for sale. Prep schools are wearing them, but Under Armour continues to keep the drop date for the public under wraps. Since Jennings broke into the league this season, he's quickly established himself as the front-runner in rookie of the year contest and a leader on a rebuilding Bucks team. The youngest player to score 50, 3 double-doubles, and the Bucks are in the hunt for a play-off spot - ain't no thang for a young buck.
On Friday night, the 20-year-old Buck returned to Madison Square Garden for the first time since the draft. Let's flashback to June 2009, when the New York Knicks passed over Jennings #8 and took Jordan Hill instead. It was no secret that Jennings was upset that he was passed over by a Knick team that needed a solid point guard, but instead he fell to #10 and the Milwaukee Bucks. #3 wanted to deliver a big game at his first game since the draft, “This one’s going to be a little bit more personal.” And he wasn't just talking about a personal game mentally, but physically...on his feet.
For the big night, Jennings debuted ANOTHER colourway of his signature Under Armour kicks the Protoype II, that can best be described by perennial court side fan Jay-Z as all-black everything. The kicks came personalized with "MECCA" written on them as an ode to the Garden. However, all the hype seemed too much for Jennings as he only had 3 points in the opening half. But, was it all about the shoes and not the stage?
At half-time, Jennings changed into his usual red and white kicks that are his road staple. He put up 19 points the 2nd half to help lead the Bucks to victory over the lowly Knicks. Jennings even said in the post game “couldn’t make no shots with my first [pair] on. I think it was the shoes.” Do you buy his excuse? I wonder what Under Armour thinks about it his public discounting of his all black pair. Was Jennings intimidated or is it all about the shoes? And would you rock them or has the wait been too long? I think the kicks are nice and I'd wear the the red and white joints on the court, but I find the all black ones give me too much of a LeBron Soldiers' feel.
High fives & booty taps,