February 24, 2007

Nike targets Native athletes

Nike helps build financial bridgesNike targeted Native Americans six years ago when it hired Sam McCracken, a former basketball player and coach from the Sioux-Assiniboine tribes in Montana, to run its Native American program.

Since then, the shoe and apparel company also has become a significant promoter of Native American athletes.

"Granted, they are trying to brand their own name," says GinaMarie Scarpa-Mabry, director of the annual Native American Basketball Invitational tournament in Phoenix. "But they are giving a lot to kids. Nobody as a non-Native company has stepped up to do what Nike has done for Native Americans. Nobody is close."

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