TEHRAN (Iran) - It has been a while since the last time Samad Nikkhah Bahrami played for Iran, but he continues to be of help to the program.
The icon himself is now the national team's official outfitter through his brand SNB Sportswear, and the future of Team Melli were lucky as they were the first to don the new kits in the recent FIBA U18 Asian Championship 2022.
"We just started our partnership with the Iran national basketball team," said the 39-year-old, who last represented the country in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
SNB Sportswear, obviously derived from his initials, was founded by Bahrami back in 2015 with the aim to provide apparel particularly for hoopers -- from shirts, jerseys, shorts, jackets, and all the way down to socks.
"I wanted to have a brand which is a good fit for basketball players," he shared. "All the brands in Iran are more about other sports, especially soccer."
Seven years later and the decorated cager is beyond blessed to witness the brand grow and be embraced by his fellow Iranians.
"Thank God it is getting better and better everyday. And Iranians, especially athletes, became our biggest supporters," said the three-time Asia Cup gold medalist. "And this is making our duty much more important."
Now, SNB Sportswear is a partner of the national team, an opportunity that brings immense honor to Bahrami and his people.
"We wanted to support our national team," he said. "We feel that this is our duty to come to the side of the national team and try to help them prepare the outfit they deserve. This is our honor, and it’s a big surprise for us."
The new uniforms debuted by the U18 squad were far different from the ones that Iranian national team have been wearing in the past few years.
The "IRAN" emblazoned on the chest is bigger compared to past iterations, while the side panels feature horizontal stripes that have a gradient-like effect when looked at from afar. And the SNB logo, lastly, is on the right chest.
And just like with the apparel they create, Bahrami had an input in the jersey's design process as he's been a very hands-on owner.
"About the look and design, I have to say yes, I interfere where they need me," he said. "And we have a very talented team behind all the designs."
Now that the partnership has begun, Bahrami vowed that SNB Sportswear will support the national team as long as they're needed.
"We are going to be at the side of the NT as long as they need us," he said. "As I told you, it’s an honor and we are very proud, so we will try to be the best version of ourselves to be part of Iranian basketball's achievements."