Shabazz Muhammad's commitment to play basketball at UCLA on Wednesday caused many skeptics to wonder if UCLA's Adidas sponsorship was the cause.
The 2012 National Champions, Kentucky, along with traditional basketball powerhouse Duke, were the other two schools in Muhammad's final three — two schools sponsored by Nike.
Muhammad's critics also point out the fact that the five-star recruit chose a school that missed the NCAA tournament two of the past three seasons over Duke and Kentucky.
Adidas currently sponsors Muhammad's sister, Asia, a professional tennis player and was the sponsor for Muhammad's AAU team, Dream Vision.
So did the shoe company have any influence on his decision?
Muhammad's dad, Ron Holmes, cleared up any confusion in an interview with the Los Angeles Times:
"I don't understand when they say Adidas had a presence here," Holmes said in a telephone interview from his Las Vegas home. "Adidas didn't tell us where to go to school. ... If they're saying that Adidas is giving me money, that is a downright lie."
Will people take Holmes at his word? Of course, Muhammad's father is not going to say flat-out that a shoe company influenced his son's decision. The evidence might be overwhelming for those that speculate that Adidas played a role.
Per Gary Parrish from CBS Sports:
it would be naive for anybody to suggest the financial relationship Adidas has with people around Muhammad didn't factor into his decision to attend a Pac-12 school coming off a disappointing season highlighted by controversy. I mean, Adidas has sponsored Muhammad's summer team (Dream Vision) for years, and his tennis-playing sister (Asia Muhammad) has an Adidas contract even though she's ranked outside the top 375 in the world. This stuff has to matter on some level, you know?
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