It’s funny how easily we can forget things from one year to the next.
Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings put the NBA on notice in just the seventh game of his rookie season, scoring 55 points.
He would help lead Milwaukee to the sixth-seed in the Eastern Conference where they would be defeated by the Atlanta Hawks in an exciting seven-game series and the thought was that the Bucks – with the right pieces around Jennings and health permitting — could become a threat in the Eastern Conference.
The 2010 offseason would be filled with some of the biggest names in the game joining new teams; the Bucks would lose some key free agents and also pick up some who didn’t necessarily mesh with Scott Skiles team philosophy and personality. They also would suffer through key injuries, including Jennings who missed 19 games with a broken foot and Milwaukee would finish just two games out of the playoffs.
For Jennings, more seemed to be lost than just the time he missed on the court; it seemed people forgot who he was and what he could do.
He would use last summer to not only strengthen himself, but fine-tune his game and use the lockout as his own personal showcase; playing any and everywhere the competition warranted his showmanship and on-court flair, all while holding down an internship with Under Armour and helping lead the brand through dynamic grassroots campaigns.
Jennings is once again giving reason to not overlook Bucks games — averaging a career-high in points, field goal percentage and leading the Bucks in assists and steals — and probably the ultimate validation of how far he has come from the disappointment of last season was that many felt that he was snubbed after being left off of the 2012 All-Star roster for the East.
While the Bucks are currently struggling — as injuries and personnel issues are once again prevalent – and Jennings has already admitting he’s keeping his options open (eligible to sign a long-term this summer), his time remains now and Milwaukee is still fighting for playoff contention.
CounterKicks: I’ve noticed that you can go through several shoes before the game even starts. Is that a superstitious thing or just you needing to make up your mind on what you want to wear?
Brandon Jennings: I’m not superstitious. I just wear a new pair of shoes every game. The main thing for me is I have to wear a fresh pair every game.
Coming off the Black Ice, what did you want to see in the next shoe in your line?
I always wanted a shoe with a strap. Last year I broke my [foot] in the Black Ice’s so I wanted a more comfortable shoe and one that could hold up for 82 games but the fact that I wear a brand new shoe every game, I won’t have that problem.
I’ve also noticed you in several different Under Armour basketball models other than the Bloodline, any reason for that?
Not at all. At first, in the beginning of the season I wasn’t wearing the Bloodline’s. I was wearing the Juke and went back to the Black Ice’s a couple of times and then the Prototype but now I’m back to the Black Ice and the Bloodline and I just wear any color that I have that will match our uniforms because you can’t just wear any color. If that was the case, you would see me with the ‘Roscoe’s’ on and all type of colors.
Explain what you wanted to accomplish with the Under the Armour webisodes.
It was just an opportunity for people to just see who I am as a person and invite them into my life and what I do. It was a crazy summer. I think the lockout helped out a whole lot for me, personally, just for working out and helping me just market myself in a different way that people never seen.
What was your favorite part of filming?
I had a lot of fun. The best thing about it was no rehearsal or anything, it was all real. It was just real footage, like Sir, he would just come around and start recording, so it wasn’t like it was staged. That’s what made it so great; the fact that he was catching crazy things that most people probably wouldn’t see an NBA player do.
You were one of the faces of the lockout in terms of a guy that would play any and everywhere there was competition. Was that just from a guy that was just bored or does that speak to your love of the game?
At the end of the day, that’s what our job is. The day I stop hooping is the day my family stop eating. At the end of the day, I just love the game. It doesn’t matter where it is. We can play at the YMCA, outside the park or anywhere. I just love to play basketball.
Being the pioneer of the basketball line at Under Armour, what are some of the things that you would like to see going forward?
I think the fact that, now, we have five solid guys is a great thing. We have DeAndre Jordan, Kemba Walker, Derrick Williams, Greivis Vasquez [and myself]. The fact that we have five guys and hopefully we can get like Austin Rivers or somebody who played in Under Armour and a lot of the Under Armour events and just keep this thing going, keep it young and keep it fresh.