OXNARD, Calif. – Dak Prescott told Jordan Brand designers who he is and what he stands for. He shed insight on his tattoos, a portrait of Prescott’s life and times, his highs and lows. The NFL shield bearing “135” to signal his draft position. The message from his mother: “Allow me to be your story.”© Michael Owen Baker, AP Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in action during practice at the NFL football team's training camp in Oxnard, Calif., Wednesday, July 28, 2021.
Designers turned his visions into 2021 cleat proposals.
“It was like, a big wow moment,” Prescott told USA TODAY Sports. “Like, ‘Damn, this is elite. This is exclusive.’”
Prescott’s personalized game cleats this season will feature Dallas Cowboys-themed navy and royal blue colorways, even a camouflage blue in concert with the NFL’s Salute to Service initiative. Expect Prescott’s footwear to incorporate his “M O M” mantra that honors his late mother, Peggy, and recalls his “Mind over Matter” mantra. He’s hesitant to reveal everything now – but don’t be surprised if a sailboat or the lion Peggy once doodled enters the rotation.
“Just epic and crazy amazing stuff,” Prescott said.
Such begins a five-year partnership between Prescott and basketball legend Michael Jordan’s division of Nike, a marriage unique from its inception. Prescott is the first Cowboys quarterback to join Jordan Brand. In fact, he’s currently Jordan’s only quarterback and only Cowboys player, a company spokesman confirmed to USA TODAY Sports. In total, Jordan has 18 NFL players, including three-time Pro Bowl receiver Michael Thomas, seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Bobby Wagner and the 2021 fourth overall draft pick, tight end Kyle Pitts.
Prescott is the highest-paid of the bunch, a person with knowledge of the terms told USA TODAY Sports, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose financial details. But finances didn’t primarily dictate the brand pivot for a quarterback entering the first season of a four-year, $160 million Cowboys contract that includes $126 million guaranteed.
Rather, joining Jordan Brand’s roster signaled a status Prescott hopes his on-field play will justify. The union also unlocks opportunities to partner off it.
‘50% of the reason’
As a basketball fan and viewer of ESPN’s docuseries “The Last Dance” in 2020, Prescott counts himself among the many athletes who consider Jordan the gold standard.
“Be ‘Like Mike,’” Prescott said, describing his 2021 mindset as he returns to the field from a gruesome ankle injury. “When he stepped in the gym, you weren’t going to outwork him. You weren’t going to beat him in sprints. That’s something I hang my hat on: (that) I’ll never be outworked.
“I’m not only trying to compete. I’m trying to chase championships as he did.”
The chance to associate with Jordan spoke to Prescott. The timing, it turned out, was opportune.
Prescott spent the first five seasons of his professional career (and the five prior via alma mater Mississippi State) in Adidas swag. As his contract neared expiration this offseason, Prescott entertained offers from Adidas, Nike and Jordan Brand, his marketing agent Peter Miller said.
Jordan Brand’s creative capabilities caught Prescott's eye. A clause in his contract with Jordan Brand explicitly allows for collaborative apparel creation between Jordan Brand, Prescott’s D4K brand and the Cowboys – whose decision to opt out of the league merchandising deal gives the team unusual flexibility.
“The fact he’d have opportunities with the Jordan apparel and product teams and with the Cowboys was really unique to us,” Miller told USA TODAY Sports. “The future can be really fruitful and, frankly, an untapped opportunity.”
Video: 'Probably 50% of the reason': Here's why Dak Prescott chose the Jordan Brand (USA TODAY)
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Prescott says “limitless” potential awaits “because the Cowboys are able to make their own gear.”
Discussions for that merchandise remain in the creative stage but excite all three parties. Prescott hasn’t met Jordan in person, but he says the basketball and business luminary texted him to welcome him to the brand upon signing. Prescott texted him back to thank him.
“Michael Jordan is an iconic figure, businessman and athlete and champion,” Miller said. “Bottom line: Michael Jordan wanted Dak Prescott and Dak was going to be his guy.”
Prescott is already practicing in Jordan Brand cleats – primarily all-black "10" models derived from what Jordan wore with the Chicago Bulls in 1995 – and says his season array will feature one consistent fit through a rotation of custom-made designs to honor his mom and his past. The high-top cleat offer welcome support as Prescott returns from a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle last October. Prescott has not yet been cleared to throw since a July 28 MRI showed a shoulder strain, but he has not shown any limitations from his ankle.
Before the shoulder injury, Prescott had reintegrated fully into team drills including 11-on-11 with a live pass rush. Now, he’s cycled through footwork and mechanics drills in addition to resistance training with director of rehabilitation Britt Brown. Sunday after practice concluded, he ran sprints in his 10's.
Post-practice sprints for Cowboys QB Dak Prescott pic.twitter.com/GhHT0J9dMt— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) August 1, 2021
“Honestly, the ankle recovery is probably 50% of the reason with the brand,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “The Cowboys equipment guys told me after my injury … that usually when a player breaks his ankle or something, they want to put him in the Jumpman cleat because of how wide the base of the cleat and sole is.
“When I did and realized how comfortable those were, I was surprised. Honestly, like I don’t know if this is weird, but I’ve never felt a cleat as comfortable as this.”
The partnership road ahead
Prescott and Miller are also intentional about ensuring reaching a comfort level with any brand’s messaging. In Jordan Brand, they say, they found a meaningful fit.
A recent Zoom call with roughly 20 teens illustrated why.
Prescott, 28, met virtually with Harlem Children’s Zone students during Cowboys players’ first off day of training camp, July 26. Prescott encouraged each student to be vulnerable and open about their mental health. Ask for help when needed and check on friends and family, Prescott implored, explaining he has "embraced" his anxiety, depression and stress by remembering that it’s OK not to be OK. He’s gotten help, he told them, including twice in his life when he saw counselors.
“It’s not necessarily fair who gets to go through what or who gets what,” Prescott told a classroom of masked teens scattered behind desks. “But it is fair that we all have the opportunity to respond and become better and use our adversity to become our strength.”
Dak: "You’ve got to do everything you can to make sure your center + your mentals are great." pic.twitter.com/OLYw1scLIF— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) July 28, 2021
Chances to assist the community directly, Prescott said, influenced his decision to sign with Jordan Brand. So, too, did Jordan’s 10-year, $100 million commitment to racial equality, social justice and access to education.
“Obviously initially it’s just kind of the style and exclusivity that the Jumpman brand has,” Prescott said. “But then the moment I realized the brand’s values, what the brand is doing, Michael’s $100 million pledge to the youth and to diversity all of that, I think it was a no-brainer for me trying to get aligned and be with people who have the same values and think the same way as I do.
“At that point, it was just getting with Peter obviously and telling him, ‘Make it happen.’”
By July, a shipment of “60+” Jordans had arrived at Prescott’s North Texas home, he said, necessitating a needed closet reorganization. Every silhouette was included, Prescott partial to the high and low 1s and 11s – specifically the all-black "Space Jams." He’s most excited, he says, to wear his "Cool Grey" cleat.
A needed closet reorganization is already underway. Otherwise, the partnership is just beginning. Ideas abound, from Prescott/Cowboys/Jordan apparel to a crosstown partnership with Mavericks star and Jordan client Luka Dončić – a collaboration Prescott says would be “epic” and “sick.”
“Everything they’ve shown me so far is straight heat,” Prescott said. “I’m excited for the future.”
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘Damn, this is elite’: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott reveals details of Jordan Brand partnership
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/e2-80-98damn-this-is-elite-e2-80-99-cowboys-qb-dak-prescott-reveals-details-of-jordan-brand-partnership/ar-AAMW1vV14243