ADDING MULTIMEDIA Spalding Signs Greg Oden and Gilbert Arenas

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Building on its basketball category leadership, Spalding, the worlds largest basketball equipment supplier, today announced the signing of two high profile basketball players, one of the top NBA draft prospects Greg Oden (Ohio State) and Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas, to endorse its full line of basketballs and backboards on a worldwide basis.

“The combination of Greg and Gilbert give Spalding an unbelievable 1-2 punch to reinforce our worldwide basketball leadership and our partnership with the NBA.”

Spalding will leverage Oden and Arenas in worldwide advertising, marketing communications and trade and consumer promotions. Terms of the multi-year deals were not disclosed.

Greg is a rare player with unlimited talent and the very real potential to shape the League for years to come and Gilbert is a proven All-Star who has worked his way into a premier NBA player with determination and passion, stated Dan Touhey, vice president of marketing for Spalding. The combination of Greg and Gilbert give Spalding an unbelievable 1-2 punch to reinforce our worldwide basketball leadership and our partnership with the NBA.

Oden, a 7-foot center, enters Thursdays NBA draft as the top prospect. He completed a stellar freshman year with the Ohio State Buckeyes, leading the team to a 35-4 record, a Big Ten regular-season and tournament title before advancing to their first national championship game since 1962. The 19-year-old Oden lived up to his billing as a two-time national high school player of the year, leading the Buckeyes in scoring (15.7) and rebounding (9.6) per game and topping the Big Ten in shooting percentage (.616). His best game may have been his last one, when he scored 25 points and had 12 rebounds while dominating the inside against Florida in the national championship game.

Arenas, a 6-4 guard with lightning quick moves, reached NBA stardom with three consecutive selections as an NBA All-Star (2005, 2006, 2007), as the Wizards all-time leader in three-point field goals (529) and the leagues third leading scorer for 2006-2007 with a 28.4 clip. The first player from the 2001 NBA Draft class to earn All-Star recognition, Arenas is known for his drive to win, his ability to prove doubters wrong and his commitment to community.

About Spalding

A Division of Russell Corporation, the Springfield, MA-based Spalding Group consists of three business units: Spalding in Springfield, MA; American Athletic, Inc. (AAI) in Jefferson, IA; and Spalding Backboards in Sussex, WI. The three companies, collectively combined, are now the largest basketball equipment supplier in the world. Spalding is the official basketball of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), NBA Development League the official backboard of the NBA and NCAA. For more information, visit


Lynn Luczkowski, 413-478-1569

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