Bulls’ Pippen Could Score As Endorser



LOS ANGELES – The third time was truly a charm for Scottie Pippen. Pippen, elemental in leading the Chicago Bulls to their third NBA championship a week ago, may be poised to follow names like Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley into endorser superstardom based on the ‘three-peat’ win, endorsement experts say.
‘Advertisers like to get them when they’re comers,’ said Jim Hilson, vp of market research firm Phase One, Beverly Hills, Calif. ‘His awareness curve is probably increasing dramatically because of the repeated success of this legendary team. He’s somebody who’s not loud, but can be depended on. He hasn’t been in trouble. And is he affordable, at least for now.’
Pippen, a softspoken Southerner has shadowed Michael Jordan as the Bulls’ No. 2 player. But with the latest victory under his belt, Pippen has become more attractive to advertisers. He may not offer the athletic showmanship of a Jordan or the sass and flash of a Barkley, but he’s quickly developing a persona for his come-through-in-the-clutch role on a team destined to go down in sports history.
The fact that teammate Jordan is up to his ears in endorsements – with Nike, Gatorade, McDonald’s and more – doesn’t hurt Pippen’s commercial appeal, either.
Pippen-handlers at Nike Sports Management said calls are rolling in. ‘We have gotten a tremendous amount of requests since the playoffs,’ said Lynn Merritt, marketing manager for Nike’s Beaverton, Ore.-based management division. ‘And there were some deals in the works prior to the playoffs, for which people are calling now wanting to close.’
Merritt said five deals are close to completion, including one for an international household product company, a breakfast food and a video game.
Pippen currently endorses Coke, Nike, Montgomery Ward’s Electric Avenue electronics chain, AT&T and Spaulding basketballs.
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