Oden Signs With Spalding, 2K

NEW YORK Greg Oden is being projected as the No. 1 selection in the National Basketball Association college draft on June 28. And when league commissioner David Stern reads his name, Oden will already be well outfitted with endorsements.

The two latest companies to sign Oden are Spalding and 2K Sports, which both said today they have aligned with the seven-footer. Spalding, Springfield, Mass., which also signed NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas, inked Oden to a multiyear deal under which he will endorse the company’s complete line of basketballs in global advertising, marketing communications and trade and consumer promotions.

2K, the sports publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, New York, said the former Ohio State All-America center will be the cover athlete and official spokesman for College Hoops 2K8. The videogame will be available this upcoming holiday season on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles.

Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

The 19-year-old Oden, who left college after his freshman year, already has endorsement deals with Nike and Topps. His agent is Mike Conley Sr., of BDA Sports Management, Walnut Creek, Calif.

“Greg is a rare player with unlimited talent and the very real potential to shape the [NBA] for years to come . . .” Dan Touhey, vp, marketing at Spalding, said in a statement. “The combination of Greg and Gilbert give Spalding an unbelievable one-two punch to reinforce our worldwide basketball leadership and our partnership with the NBA.”

Winstanley Associates, Lenox, Mass., is Spalding’s lead agency. The company spent $2.5 million in media in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.