The Soboba tribe’s Joe Burton is the first Native American ever offered a scholarship to play basketball for the powerful Pac-10 conference, according to EPSN. The Oregon State power forward/center is also the inspiration behind his team’s decision to wear turquoise uniforms in their N7 game against Texas Southern over this past Thanksgiving.
N7 is a division of Nike created to bring more Native Americans into the sports world, attracting the help of major league baseball star and Colorado River Indian Jacoby Ellsbury. When Oregon State coach Craig Robinson was looking for a way to bring more attention to the heritage of his 6’7″ recruit, N7 was putting together their first official Nike N7 game and the fit was perfect.
“I didn’t know much about Native Americans until I started recruiting Joe,” Robinson said to Oregon Live’s Lindsay Schnell, “Joe is the type of person that people want to follow and I saw it firsthand when I recruited him and (he) was taken out of the reservation.”
Schnell goes on to explain that along with creating the Beavers’ turquoise uniforms (the color of friendship), N7 helped fund 18 Native American programs around the U.S. and donated over $350,000 in grants to help children get more access to sports.