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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Friends and FOE: Former Jayhawks launch line of merchandise

From left, Markieff Morris jokes with Thomas Robinson, as they, Marcus Morris and Mario Little all autographed FOE merchandise at the Oread Hotel Saturday afternoon. To check out the FOE gear, go to: http://www.foeinc.net/images

From left, Markieff Morris jokes with Thomas Robinson, as they, Marcus Morris and Mario Little all autographed FOE merchandise at the Oread Hotel Saturday afternoon. To check out the FOE gear, go to: http://www.foeinc.net/images

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NBA players Thomas Robinson and the Morris twins, who were at The Oread Hotel on Saturday for the launch of their new “FOE” line of snapbacks, beanies, dad hats, shirts and pins, plan to play some pick-up basketball with current members of Kansas University’s team this week.

“We’ll go work out with them, hang around. That college intensity is a little high right now for me. We’re gonna ease our way in with them,” former KU power forward Robinson of the Brooklyn Nets said with a smile.

He said he and the twins are “70 percent” sure they’ll be playing in the Bill Self campers’ game on Wednesday afternoon in Horejsi Center along with former KU guards Elijah Johnson and Mario Little, who also were at the Oread on Saturday signing autographs for folks who bought FOE merchandise.

“It should be fun. See guys I haven’t seen in a while. It’s a chance to see coach (Bill) Self and play in front of the fans again,” said Markieff Morris, a power forward with the Washington Wizards.

“It’s great,” Morris added of being back at KU for a few days. “You walk in the gym, and it still smells the same. Those long Boot Camp years ... everything’s still the same.”

The former Jayhawks in attendance Saturday all feel a close bond with KU fans. That’s why they launched the FOE (Family Over Everything) line of goods (available at foeinc.net) in their favorite college town.

“Here is where we started. They (fans) created it. They made it something. They planted it. All we did was be student-athletes. The fans made it happen,” said Robinson, who created the actual FOE logo, a tree inside a triangle. “The whole thing is around the family tree. I was messing around with a tree, traced it, and it came out as a triangle. When everybody wears it, outside of it being a style thing, it also has a meaning behind it. That’s why we added a logo. Add more fashion sense to it,” Robinson added.

Noted Markieff Morris: “I love my Kansas fans more than anywhere else. We started that (FOE) here, had our first experience here with it. The fans showed a lot of support today. We had a great turnout. We want to thank everybody who came out.”

Little played pro ball in South Korea last season and expects to return for next season, while Johnson competed in Turkey. Marcus Morris played for the Detroit Pistons.

“He’s had a good career,” Markieff said of his brother. “The best is yet to come.” Of his own career, Markieff, who like Marcus last played at KU in 2010-11, noted: “I’m happy to be back home (Washington, D.C., is mighty close to his hometown of Philadelphia). I’m super excited. The best is yet to come.”

Robinson, who last played at KU in 2011-12, just finished the first year of a two-year deal with Brooklyn. He has been with five teams in four NBA seasons.

“I am finally feeling comfortable,” Robinson said. “I finished the last two months of the season good. That’s 41⁄2 years it took me to get to this point. I’ll keep rolling on in my career now.”

He said his rookie season split between Sacramento and Houston was difficult.

“Not getting that attention right away (was hard),” he said. “I didn’t get that attention. I was very attention-needy when I was here (at KU). When I had to go to being a different person, I didn’t accept it well. It took me the long route, but I always get the long route. I’m good now,” he added.

This is Robinson’s first trip back to Lawrence in years, same with the twins.

“We try to get here during the all-star break, but it’s too tough. You’ve got to see family,” Robinson said. “Summertime you are off, especially early summer guys are moving around a little bit more before locking in. We’re always going to find time to come back here. We’re sorry it took so long. We had to get everything right.”

Noted Morris: “It’s been awhile. We’re happy to come back and play in the Roundball Classic, too,” he added of Brian Hanni’s charity game on June 16 at Free State. “We’re more than happy to come back and launch our FOE brand.”

Markieff closed an interview with reporters showing his humorous side: Asked about NBA media compared to college, he said: “I get tired of seeing their faces just like I got tired of seeing you all’s faces. It’s all the same thing,” he added, laughing.

Comments

Tony Bandle 3 years, 7 months ago

Is this a for profit business model, a charity business model or some combination of the two, kind of like Tom's Shoes? For as much as they've all switched teams, maybe a travel agency would be a good sponsor.

Please feel free to rip me but for some reason I am not getting a positive vibe out of this venture.

Dale Rogers 3 years, 7 months ago

What happens with the profit? Does it go to charities or scholarships? If this is purely for profit, then I'm disappointed in these guys that with the money they make they're not doing this to help others. Hopefully this is for something other than their own profit but I see nothing about that in this article or their website foeinc.net .

Benz Junque 3 years, 7 months ago

Probably to pay for their defense funds on the multiple arrests they are facing.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 7 months ago

I went and checked out their site and saw nothing that would make me think that the money is for anything other than profit. The site looks like it's still in development and the line of clothing offered is only hats and beanies. I think that they are testing the market before investing major money.

They obviously have the right to earn money from any venture as does anyone else but I thought the whole idea behind FOE was more than just making money. Hopefully more information will show this to be a nonprofit organization.

Matthew Neal 3 years, 7 months ago

Seriously you're upset these guys started their own business and are tying to make a profit??? Good Lord- get a grip. They have every right to make a profit off of their idea. Good for them. I hope it's widly successful

Tony Bandle 3 years, 7 months ago

I am not against them making a profit, however, the fact that they are not a group of lawyers or architects or sanitary engineers but are University of Kansas basketball players who gained notoriety and thus exposure, through the KU basketball program thus opening up a ready made market, in my mind, warrants some sort of "giving back" for this opportunity.

Even a small % toward some KU backed charity or scholarship program would be a nice gesture [and a smart business move].

Gary Bedore 3 years, 7 months ago

They are rich NBA players. To them, this is like Madonna putting out a line of clothes or something. They are trying to start a fashion trend and a nation-wide FOE fashion movement. This is a business to them.

Steve Macy 3 years, 7 months ago

Maybe they feel that since they did not get a cut of the gate at KU games, KU does not get a cut of their pie. I am not trying to start an argument on playing for pay, just what they might think.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 7 months ago

I think being coached up to lottery picks (yes - Marcus went #14) should count for something. None of the three were top 25 recruits. Not arguing, just my opinion. I also think these kids deserve some type of payment, the NCAA is obsolete in the same way the AAU and the Olympics were in their stance on amateur statis.

That said, I don't think they owe KU anything, all three made their mark at KU but using the University as a backdrop to launch a private business just feels wrong.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 7 months ago

How many athletes have business ventures outside of their sports to make money once they retire? T-Rob especially has not made enough to retire with no source of income beyond basketball.

Ryan Zimmerman 3 years, 7 months ago

TRob made $980K+ last year... it's a decent start towards retirement:)

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 7 months ago

TRob has made 10.5 million not counting his current contract. Most people would think he should be fairly comfortable even w/the IRS and agents grabbing their share.

Jay Scott 3 years, 7 months ago

It's better that they're making an ill conceived attempt at being businessmen than hanging out with Aquib Talib.....

Eliott Reeder 3 years, 7 months ago

Lol. You guys think that these players owe KU something? Thomas Robinson is one of the most beloved players in recent memory. The twins were also great players who, I'll admit, have done a couple of things that got themselves, and KU by association, some bad press. I am grateful when any ex-KU player, especially those in the NBA and NFL, are happy to acknowledge and credit the university for helping their careers and lives. However, if somebody were able to add up all the Williams Fund donations, ticket sales, merch sales, TV contract money, fundraiser money, etc that the University of Kansas accumulated while these guys were working their butts off to be the best that they could be, it would far outweigh the cost of their collective scholarships. They are free to start a business for profit if they want to. And I also think they are free to come home to Lawrence KS to launch it, especially given the fact that this is the place that inspired their slogan "Family Over Everything". That phrase was never just about the twins. It was the slogan of the whole KU roster at the time, and carried on for years after they left. I wish them all the luck in the world with their business endeavor.

Kyle Rohde 3 years, 7 months ago

I just hope the twins made it through the weekend without getting arrested or ticketed.

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