March Madness, The Final Four, SU, and Pearl

I grew up in Syracuse, NY. A lot of people who grow up in rural (as in non mega-city areas) say that there wasn't a lot to do.

I disagree.

There was a lot to do. I skied at least twice a week during the long winter months. We hiked and swam in the short summer months. We had a great bar scene as I got older, thanks to the colleges. I had a ton of amazing friends.

And we had Syracuse University basketball.

Going to SU basketball games was the thrill of a (kid's) lifetime. They were basically always in the top 20, generally in the top 10, and often even higher than that. Crowds would top 25,000 spectators at the games. This in sleepy Central New York.

So you can imagine my thrill, all these years later, to see the team back in the Final Four during March Madness. While I have no time to follow the games anymore, I do see the feed on my social channels and it gives me great delight. Great delight.

I started noticing all this buzz about the team uniforms and "Pearl." I just had to investigate, if only for nostalgia purposes but also from a marketing perspective. I can't help myself. These are the Orangemen, after all, and why did they change their uniform? What's up?

The orange is still there but it turns out that "Pearl" is a former team mate...Pearl Washington. An iconic SU player from back in the day...I remember him! An icon at SU!

Well now he's suffering from cancer, and there's a Go Fund Me account set up to help cover his care. And his (former) team is there to help him raise awareness and raise funds. Just like he worked to raise the profile of the Team and the University during his time.

How fabulous. Using your exposure (the SU basketball team) to help a former teammate (Pearl) cope with a major health issue (cancer) while raising your brand in the meantime (Syracuse). Complete with the Nike swoosh.


Wishing you a thorough recovery, Pearl!

What's your experience? JIM