The world is changing, and even millennials may have a hard time keeping up.
The latest sign that the apocalypse is upon us comes from the world of fashion (where else), or at least athleisure. As part of a dramatically expanded youth outerwear collection, Under Armour has coordinated with phenoms from different sports to design the new jackets.
While most of the athletes who collaborated on the line come from sports where young phenoms are more commonplace — think free skiing, figure skating, snowboarding and even soccer — one stood out: 11-year-old football freak in training Bunchie Young, an elementary schooler so talented that he already holds Division I scholarship offers (from Illinois and an undisclosed Pac-12 school).
First off, the advertisements that have been released to launch the line are bona fide cool, including Bunchie Young’s piece, which you can see above. That’s high, high-level production value and the kind of flash you would expect from a LeBron James vehicle, not for an athlete who has yet to play a single middle school down, let alone one on a high school field.
That tells us a couple things:
1) Bunchie Young is a truly special talent
2) It’s possible the world has now gone completely mad
That second critique has nothing to do with Young. The fact that he is a special talent is already virtually unassailable, and this reinforces that even though this isn’t a traditional endorsement deal; there is no sense that the athletes in question were paid for their feedback and likeness. To the contrary, it’s almost assured they were simply consulted to develop the gear.
Being involved in a campaign like Under Armour’s is a statement for any young athlete, and an instant confidence boost on a football field, not that Young needs that. Rather, the operating concept is that the jackets will help keep Young warm (in Southern California?) and will prove to be a hit with his friends.
Here’s the thing: by choosing to promote athletes this young, Under Armour is taking the next logical step in defining what — and more importantly, who — is next. And simply by pointing a finger at Young now, Under Armour has given Young the imprimatur of a potential football LeBron James; the player to keep an eye on as he continues to develop.
So, when Young is tearing apart college football at USC or UCLA or Notre Dame or Alabama, you can say that you remember when it truly began … with Young donning an Under Armour coat in a flashy ad. You decide if that’s cool, disturbing or enlightened for yourself. And don’t worry: You can feel multiple ways about that and not be wrong, too.