The team photo for the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team was released and it was an artfully done hodgepodge. It didn’t stick to “tallest in the back” rule. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the arrangement. Well, unless if you are a conspiracy theorist. The three players who happen to sport non-Nike shoe company apparel happen to be the three whose shoes are not visible: Kyle Lowry, Harrison Barnes, and Klay Thompson.
Lowry, the smallest player in the group, is directly behind a crouching Jimmy Butler, Barnes is in the shadows behind Butler and DeMar DeRozan, and Thompson is standing behind a seated Carmelo Anthony and a crouching DeAndre Jordan.
This isn’t the first time that people have raised issues about Nike posing a picture in a way to exclude a competitor, during Olympic photos. Back in 2008, Dwight Howard was the only player who had a non-Nike shoe deal, and he also happened to have his feet blocked by a sitting Mike Krzyzewski.
All of the 2012 Olympics players were sponsored by Nike, after Derrick Rose and Howard were injured and unable to play. This is the first opportunity since 2008 to see if, as a Nike insider told CNBC back then, “this shot was an artistic photo taken in Las Vegas and that there’s no conspiracy behind the posing of everything surrounding the team’s only adidas endorser.”
Such a claim would seem harder to believe after three different players happen to be the only ones blocked on the back row with non-visible shoewear.