This past December, UCLA Athletic Director Martin Jarmond unveiled the university’s new partnership with Nike and the Jordan Brand. This news broke just a few months after Under Armour terminated its contract with UCLA and is representative of the bright athletic future that UCLA athletics is on the cusp of.
First, let’s talk about the details of the Nike x UCLA partnership. This six-year deal will have Jordan’s legendary Jumpman brand outfitting the Men and Women’s basketball programs as well as the Men’s Football team. Additionally, Nike, the parent company of Jordan, will outfit UCLA’s 22 other varsity sports uniforms, apparel, equipment, and footwear.
As a UCLA fan or student, however, you will have to remain patient. UCLA x Jordan merchandise will not be available until Fall 2021 but it will be worth the wait. UCLA is officially the only Pac-12 conference team to wear the brand and is one of only five schools in the nation to represent Jordan in three sports. Furthermore, this partnership includes student-athlete development programs, two summer internships each year for UCLA students, and an annual educational experience at Nike headquarters, demonstrating its value amongst the entire Bruin community.
This exclusive partnership would not have been possible without the support of two legendary UCLA basketball alumni, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook. Both NBA stars helped Jarmond understand the significance of a brand like Jordan and the contributions it would make to his athletic program.
“[Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook] helped me understand in ways that I wasn’t fully aware, how young people feel about Nike and Jordan Brand as opposed to other companies,” Jarmond said in a public statement. “UCLA is elite, and our student-athletes deserve every resource in their pursuit of excellence. We sought to partner with the best in the world; that is Nike and Jordan Brand. Going into this process, our top priority was to secure the best quality and most innovative product to help our student-athletes and coaches compete for championships.”
Craig Williams, the Jordan brand president, was excited to partner with UCLA due to the university’s significance in athletics as well as the greater Los Angeles community. He also identified UCLA’s determined mindset in Jarmond’s reimagined athletic program.
“Like Nike and Jordan Brand, the Bruins have a championship mind-set and their impact is felt both in sport and within the community,” Williams said in a public statement. “We are beyond excited to welcome UCLA into the family and are looking forward to partnering with some of the best athletes in the world.”
Clearly, UCLA athletics are headed in the right direction. Since Jarmond was appointed Athletic Director, the university has found athletic success. The UCLA women’s basketball team is ranked 6th in the nation, the men’s basketball team is ranked 24th in the nation on its way to UCLA’s best Pac-12 opening in 27 years, and the football team showed glimpses of great potential and is determined to have a strong 2021 campaign. Luckily, the Jordan deal should help further this development throughout the athletic department because of the partnership’s influence on the recruitment process.
“We are thrilled to join the Jordan Brand family,” Women’s Head Basketball Coach Cori Close said in a public statement. “This is a huge difference-maker in the recruiting world. The Jordan brand is elite and that is the standard at UCLA. This partnership will enhance our efforts to create champions that are difference makers in their sport, as well as beyond. This is an elite win for UCLA Athletics.”
As UCLA continues its impressive 2020-2021 athletic campaign, the athletes look forward to doing so in style next fall. High school senior and UCLA Men’s basketball commit Peyton Watson is excited to see what the team can accomplish in their updated look.
“I know it’s going to be big for recruits,” Watson said. “With the Jordan Brand, it goes with how prestigious the school is. I can’t wait to get there. For a lot of athletes, we have the same mindset: look good, feel good, play well. It instills confidence in the play when we are wearing nice apparel.”
Jarmond is grateful and excited to see how this exclusive partnership will usher in this fiercely competitive and determined wave of UCLA sports.
“I want to thank Chancellor Block for his leadership and support in establishing a relationship that will make the entire Bruin community proud,” Jarmond said. “As we build upon our rich history and strive for greater heights, this transformative collaboration is a signal of the future.”