Nike didn’t become Nike without being borderline psychotic about anything that might potentially affect their brand image or their categorical market dominance. So why should an endeavor purportedly designed to invoke pure nationalistic pride be any different? After all, the Olympics have become one enormous marketing extravaganza, and if the world’s biggest shoe and apparel company wants to maintain its stranglehold on the event, they sometimes have to go to absurd lengths to do so.
Take, for instance, the above photo — by way of The Vertical’s Nick DePuala — depicting this summer’s USA Basketball squad. Nike is presented with a conundrum here. As pointed out in the tweet, a few of these players have shoe deals with other brands, yet those brands obviously have to make concessions to allow said players to rock Nike uniforms, i.e. the official brand of Team USA. Nike, for their part, obviously has to allow those players to represent the shoe companies they have deals with, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try to cover up those logos on the sly with a carefully-staged tableau.
It’s not like it’s anything new, either.
You could just chalk it up to Nike being Nike, which is probably precisely what enables Nike to be what it is, the brand that is synonymous with global dominance.