Qwuantrezz Knight had one thing in mind when he rolled up to Pac-12 Football Media sporting a brand new Jordan polo shirt.
"I make sure the USC guys see them, so I try to pass by them every time I see them," Knight said. "Hey yeah, we got Jordan now."
Knight and quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson proudly donned their Jordan Brand polos and sneakers at the conference-wide event Tuesday, as UCLA Athletics' six-year, $46 million deal with the apparel brand started back on July 1. The football uniforms themselves weren't showcased until July 22, meaning the partnership with Jumpman is still a new phenomenon for the Bruins' stars.
Michael Jordan may not have played football, but His Airness is still synonymous with greatness no matter the sport. Thompson-Robinson said that's the bar he and his teammates will have to live up to, and it's a task he's happy to take on.
"If you want to be the best, you've got to be with the best," Thompson-Robinson said. "You are who you hang around and Jordan's the best, so we're trying to try to model their game and hold that standard."
Current Bruins aren't the only ones who are benefitting from UCLA's new official outfitter.
"It's going to be help us with recruiting, because everybody wants to be associated with it," said coach Chip Kelly. "I think the product is outstanding and we're excited to get started using it."
Under Armour was long seen as an inferior brand by recruits, at least in comparison to crosstown rival USC's Nike. Now, UCLA has the power of Nike and Jordan behind it, and Kelly thinks that can be a feather in his program's cap moving forward.
The Jordan Brand is just that, though – a brand. The Bruins actually have to wear the gear on gamedays, and it's going to be a notable shift from wearing Under Armour.
Kelly, for one, said he thinks it's going to be a positive shift for multiple reasons.
"I always have been such a big fan of the product," Kelly said. "I think sometimes that gets glossed over, what a good product it is. I had a chance to be in the office (Monday), spent a little time with our equipment guy, checking all the new stuff that came in. Looking at the new prototype cleats that Jordan has, what that is going to provide for especially our big guys – we have some really big guys on our team."
Director of Football Equipment Operations Frederick Lovett gave a full breakdown of the new uniforms on July 22, praising their materials and how they helped with airflow, sweat protection and more.
Kelly's Oregon teams in the early 2010s were famous for their Nike uniforms – not because they were necessarily well-designed or high-tech, but because they were so outlandish and changed nearly every week.
Don't expect that to be the case in Westwood, however.
Kelly said UCLA is one of the few schools that passes his "Airport Test" – if you're rushing through the airport, you can tell who's playing just by looking at the jerseys on TV. As a result, he said he wants to keep things simple and static, embracing the blue and gold through and through.
Keeping that tradition in mind, the Bruins have still gotten a full makeover from the helmets down to the socks.
And don't forget the shoes.
"I remember my first time trying on the cleats, it was just another feel from the Under Armour cleats," Knight said. "I didn't want to take them off. Honestly, I think I kept them on pretty much the whole day."
Knight wasn't wearing them at media day, but he did say he was excited to get back to Wasserman Football Center and slip on another pair.
He and his teammates will be lacing up those new kicks in the Rose Bowl on Aug. 28, the world's first look at the UCLA-Jordan pairing on the gridiron.
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