UCLA says backpack matter closed
TEMPE, Ariz. -- UCLA's compliance department has investigated the designer backpack star freshman Shabazz Muhammad wore during postgame interviews Thursday night after he scored 23 points in the Bruins' 84-73 upset of No. 6 Arizona.
"The UCLA Athletics Compliance Office has confirmed that men's basketball players Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson (who also had a designer model backpack) received items in question as gifts from their respective families, and the matter is closed," UCLA's athletic department said in a statement Friday night.
Most UCLA athletes use school-issued backpacks that include the school logo, the sport they play and their uniform number. Muhammad, however, was sporting what appeared to be a Gucci backpack. The Gucci website shows men's backpacks ranging in price from $990 to $2,370.
Nobody asked Muhammad about the backpack during the interview session, so it's unclear if it's real or a knockoff. UCLA coach Ben Howland declined to say whether the issue was being overblown.
Muhammad's sister, Asia Muhammad, a professional tennis player, took to Twitter to defend her brother. She tweeted directly to Pat Forde -- the author of the Yahoo! Sports column that first mentioned the backpack -- that she and her mother gave the backpack to Muhammad as a birthday gift.
"I have the original receipt if you need to verify that," Asia Muhammad wrote to Forde. "[Shabazz] doesn't need anything from anyone except his family. ... You're barking up the wrong tree on this one."