By Barry Janoff
August 1, 2012: Anthony Davis may be in London with the men's Olympic basketball squad trying to win a gold medal, but that hasn't stopped him from signing golden endorsement deals in the U.S.
Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, has signed a multi-year pact with Panini America, the exclusive licensed trading card partner of the NBA.
Financial terms of the exclusive deal were not disclosed.
Davis, who helped lead Kentucky to the 2012 NCAA National Championship before being drafted by the New Orleans Hornets, recently signed a multi-year deal with Nike.
Panini America said that Davis is the fourth No. 1 overall pick to sign exclusively with Panini America since 2009. Past No. 1 overall picks include Blake Griffin, John Wall and Kyrie Irving.
Davis replaced Griffin on Team USA after Griffin suffered a knee injury during workouts for the Summer Olympics. His roster mates include LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul.
Panini American said it now has autographed trading card deals with 54 of the 60 2012 NBA draft picks, as well as 12 undrafted NBA rookies. They will be featured as part of the first Panini Double Rookie Class, scheduled to debut as part of the 2012-13 NBA Hoops set on Aug. 15 at retail and hobby shops.
"Anthony Davis is a tremendous player — not only on the basketball court but also in the world of officially licensed trading cards."
"Anthony Davis is a tremendous player — not only on the basketball court but also in the world of officially licensed trading cards — and his impact on our complete line of 2012-13 NBA products will be substantial," Mark Warsop, CEO for Panini America, said in a statement. "We proudly welcome him into the Panini America family, where his rookie cards will be among the most coveted collectibles in the sports world next season."
Panini America previously unveiled deals with NBA rookies including Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (No. 2 overall, Charlotte Bobcats), Thomas Robinson (No. 5 overall, Sacramento Kings), Harrison Barnes (No. 7 overall, Golden State Warriors), Andre Drummond (No. 9 overall, Detroit Pistons), Austin Rivers (No. 10 overall, New Orleans Hornets), John Henson (No.14 overall, Milwaukee Bucks) and Jared Sullinger (No. 21 overall, Boston Celtics).
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