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Sports Icons Creating Personal Brands

Calvin Pryor

NFL Strong Safety

In today’s world, many NFL players are actually branding themselves. It is no longer just about their professional apparel or the sponsor’s name brand.  For instance, look at the brand between Nike and LeBron James that has gone global.

But only some icons can be at the top.  Basketball provides an appeal that is broader on the global landscape than the game of football here in the USA, but the National Football League does offer opportunity for players to heighten their awareness through personal branding.   And they are doing this without sponsors while promoting their own product lines and simple apparel.





A few examples:

  • Mike Kafka QB from the Minnesota Vikings as in own apparel line and products. Titled RooOutdoor his gear consist of improved hand warmers for sports and outdoor activities.
  • Drew Brees the New Orleans Saints QB uses his Saints colors and his jersey #9 integrating them into his apparel line, which is titled “Nine”.  Brees Dream Foundation receives 9% of the proceeds from this brand which works toward increasing the quality of life for cancer patients while offering emotional support and education to their children and families as they face their loved ones disease.
  • Kam Chancellor of the SeaHawks known as BAM BAM KAM engages in t-shirts with his well-known nickname and the colors of his team with a unique typeface. The Kam Cares Foundation, which helps build communities through the support of local non-profits, has a shirt imprinted “Kam Kares”.
  • Antonio Brown, WR on the Pittsburgh Steelers has branded himself to the hastag #CUEUPU. It stands for “Chest Up, Eyes Up, Prayed Up”.  Using this phrase he crated a simple t-shirt and recently has introduced wristbands.
  • With Seattle Seahawk inspired colors, Richard Sherman created Sherman’s gear collection which bleeds of blue, green and gray. Among the t-shirt options which sell for $30 each you will find “Denied by RS25” and “You Mad, Bro? It’s hard to choose between the “Nerf Brodie” Rasta sunglasses and “Shutdown” the beanie and flatbrim!
  • During the time of the 2010 NFL lockout, Victor Cruz and Nate Collins worked on a line of t-shirts and snapbacks they call Young Whales. They show pretty fresh designs, logos and a tight looking wale caricature on their Instagram that is approaching 10K followers!
  • JJ Watts sells apparel to promote not only himself but to create recognition of his charitable leadership by providing children with after-school community activities and opportunities for growth though athletics. His shirts are $20 & up and are of multiple styles and designs of his number 99, his motto “Dream Big, Work Hard” and his nickname “Megawatt”.
  • Jared Allen, Chicago Bears DE has JaredAllen69inc.com where he sells his own merchandise and also hosts his foundation “Home for Wounded Warriors” which works to improve lives of US veterans and their families.
  • Houston Texans WR, Andre Johnson, uses the number 80 along with a crown topped triangle. Look it up, it’s something to see.
  • Free agent, Nate Burleson, also has a line of his own. It is entitled “Lion Blood” and includes a menagerie of items from sweatshirts, to hats to the standard t-shirts all with Detroit Lion based colors.




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