Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:42 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 1:46 pm

Nike selling $130 Jeremy Lin shoes

Jeremy Lin has his own Nike shoes. (SlamXHype.com)

Posted by Ben Golliver 

It's gotta be the shoes. How else to explain the rapid rise of New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, the roster cut turned global icon?

Nike will begin capitalizing on Lin's incredible rise to fame by selling a $130 version of its Hyperfuse sneakers in New York Knicks colors, according to Reuters. To be clear, these aren't "Air Jeremy's" or "Air Lin" signature models, but they are the shoes worn by Lin this season.

Nike said it will launch the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Low basketball shoes, built especially for Lin, this weekend in Orlando, Florida, where the NBA is holding its All-Star festivities.

"It's not a signature line but a version of the shoe that he's been wearing this season," the company told Reuters.

The Hyperfuse sneaker is one of the most popular models worn by NBA players. Lin's version features his last name on the tongue of each shoe.

The Oregonian provides additional details
The Oregon-based company sent out a notice this evening announcing the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Low iD basketball shoe created for Lin, the New York Knicks point guard who emerged from near oblivion this weekend to fame. 

The $130 shoe won't be available at off-the-shelf retail, but can be created and purchased at the NikeID.com website. Consumers can replicate the exact customization options of Lin's shoe. 
Newsday reported that a Nike spokesman issued a "no comment" when asked whether Nike has plans to produce a signature line for Lin in the future.

Sneaker companies generally reserves signature lines for established stars. All-Stars Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James each have signature lines. All-Stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade have signature sneakers under the Jordan Brand umbrella.

Image via SlamXHype.com.
Posted on: February 24, 2012 3:58 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 4:04 pm

Shoe fans riot at release in Orlando

The Nike Foamposite One Galaxy shoes caused a riot? Really? (NiceKicks.com)

The 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend got started off on the wrong foot Thursday night when what has been described as a small riot broke out at a shoe release for the Nike Foamposite One Galaxy at a mall in Orlando. The release was not associated with the NBA in any way, but Nike had obviously planned the event around All-Star Weekend, and things got scary eventually. From CBSNews.com: 
The Orlando Sentinel reports the crowd was asked to wait across the street when the mall closed. However, one person ran toward Foot Locker and others followed. Authorities formed a line and use shields to protect themselves and push back the crowd.Store employees became concerned and called 911.

"I saw hundreds of people running toward me. I thought I was going to get trampled," said Amanda Charles, 20, who was among a group of a half-dozen friends who drove from Jacksonville to try to buy the glow-in-the-dark Nikes.Witnesses said more police officers quickly arrived, decked out in riot gear and fortified by still more deputies on horseback, on motorcycles and in patrol cars. A helicopter with a spotlight hovered overhead."

Due to the overwhelming turnout at the midnight shoe release, and with everyone's safety in mind, Foot Locker canceled the shoe debut," Florida Mall General Manager Lydia Gilmore said in a statement.

Nike followed suit by canceling the shoe release at several stores."Due to safety concerns, we are canceling the All-Star releases this weekend at the following Foot Locker House of Hoops stores: Florida Mall, Pembroke Mall, University Mall in Tampa, Southlake Mall and PG Plaza. Our priority is the safety of the community," Nike said in a statement.
via Nike Air Foamposite One Galaxy shoe release Spurs riot at Florida mall - Crimesider - CBS News.

Well, that's totally insane.

NiceKicks.com reports that the shoes have a listing for $70,000 on eBay, and that there's a week-long camp-out going on for them in NYC.

It's easy to get on the high horse about this; they are just shoes, after all. But it's no different than the way people go nuts over Black Friday, or a new car, or a new CD, video game, hunting gear, television, concert tickets and the like. People want things, and the want them more if they are rare, and they want them even more if they happen to devote their hobbies towards those objects. The problem is not shoes, here. It's people, and people being nuts when put into large groups with the pressure of a situation like this one.

At least the violence was contained and there are no reported casualties. 

All-Star Weekend off to a great start.

(HT: Nice Kicks
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 4, 2011 4:26 pm

LeBron, Durant explain 'Basketball Never Stops'

Posted by Ben Golliver

You wouldn't think a self-evident catch-phrase like Nike's "Basketball Never Stops" would require further explanation, but that didn't stop the shoe giant from releasing a companion piece to its recent ad starring LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki and Amar'e Stoudemire.

In the companion video, James, Durant, Nowitzki and others explain what the phrase "Basketball Never Stops" -- an obvious nod to the ongoing NBA lockout -- means to them.

"No matter where you're at, no matter what time of the day, you can always have a love for the game, and you can always play the game," James explains. "You could be playing inside your house with your loved ones or at a rec league with kids, or playing at a rec league with 40-and-over guys, it doesn't matter. The game of basketball never stops no matter what's going on in the world because people love the game that much."

"No matter if it's the offseason, vacation, holiday, always find a way to get in the gym and get better," Durant adds. "No matter if you're just working out by yourself or playing pickup the game never stops, no matter what you're doing. That's the type of approach I try to have."

Nowitzki chimes in: "I'm 33 years old now, and I'm still in the gym in the summer, working out, trying to get better, trying out certain moves."

And Stoudemire polishes it off. "You're always thinking about basketball," he says. "It's something that you sleep, you dream, when you're awake, you play, you think about it."

So, as it turns out, "Basketball Never Stops" pretty much means that basketball never stops. Now you know.

Here's the video courtesy of YouTube user NikeBasketball.

Posted on: November 1, 2011 12:15 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 12:21 pm

Video: LeBron James alone and violent

By Matt Moore

The Nike "Basketball Never Stops" spots are so good, we're pretty much going to keep running them. Why? Because it's almost like an NBA team's introduction video, and because it shows the stars doing basketball things, which we're pretty starved for at this point on what would have been opening night in the NBA. 

The new spot is a solo one for LeBron James, with Kevin Durant's expected later in the month. In the spot, James is on a rooftop, with the spotlight from the other video with him, KD, and Dirk. He goes through his workout as shots are interlaced of the city shutting down for then night while James keeps working. This of course requires a high degree of reality suspension since we're all patently aware of how much James likes to party. But whatever, it's a good spot with a good intent.

Also, the violence with which James dunks is still awe-inspiring. Must not have been the fourth quarter of his workout. Yes, I made the obligatory fourth-quarter joke. If the NBA's not going to give us games, I'm going to pander. It's my pander pout.  

Posted on: October 29, 2011 11:57 am

LeBron James, Kevin Durant star in new Nike ad

Posted by Ben Golliver

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are up to their old tricks again, giving up on negotiations on Friday and cancelling two more weeks of the regular season.

Those developments only help reinforce the recurring message coming from the sneaker industry. It's not a particularly complicated message or an especially confrontational one, at least not yet. It basically boils down to "Professional basketball players enjoy playing professional basketball, no matter what," and here's the latest ad pushing that theme. 

The ad opens with the lights being turned off in an NBA stadium and then quickly transitions to a spotlight following Miami Heat forward LeBron James, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, New York Knicks forward Dirk Nowitzki and other basketball players of all ages as they work on their games individually, play in late-night pick-up games, engage in pre-game celebrations, play three-on-three in the drive way, see which players made the cut list and play some pop-a-shot.

The symbolism isn't complicated: basketball and its players shine wherever the sport goes, even if the NBA is locked out and the stadiums are dark. The ad's tagline -- "Basketball Never Stops" -- has been used as a slogan throughout the lockout when James, Durant and others have played on the exhibition game circuit and it works in tandem with Jordan Brand's recent "Love The Game" spot which features Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony playing in pick-up and intramural games throughout the country.

Nike's ad winds up being a bit more serious than Jordan's, which had a few humorous touches, but it fits the athletes depicted and it's dealing with a serious and touchy subject. James is, theoretically, focused on a quest for redemption. Durant is a stone-faced killer whenever he takes the court. Nowitzki has a goofy side, but he takes preparation and execution as seriously as anybody. Stoudemire feels a bit like a toss-in, but he's getting old and taking on new burdens as one of the faces of the improved Knicks, so it's not a total stretch.  

Video via YouTube user NikeBasketball 
Posted on: October 8, 2011 3:46 pm

Nike to release LeBron James 9 'Cannon' shoe

Posted by Ben Golliver


Last year, LeBron James and the Miami Heat spent some time during training camp at a Florida Air Force base. This year, training camp has been cancelled due to the ongoing NBA lockout, but James has a new sneaker meant to honor that experience.

On Sunday, Nike will release the ninth iteration of James' signature sneaker. Dubbed the LeBron 9 "Cannon," the original model will be sold exclusively in South Florida and the Associated Press reports that the shoe's design and color scheme was inspired by the Air Force.
Nike calls it "The Cannon'' edition of the LeBron 9. The military-green theme is a nod to the Miami Heat having their first training camp since James joined the team last season at Hurlburt Field and Eglin Air Force Base. Those installations in Florida's Panhandle hosted the Heat for about a week, and players interacted with military personnel during that camp.
At first glance, these shoes seem more like "tank" than "aircraft carrier" or "fighter plane," but the personal, local touch and concept is cool regardless.
The LeBron 9 Cannon by Nike will retail for $170.

Nike and James recently released the "Miami Nights" version of his eighth signature sneaker and released a "South Beach" model in Oct. 2010.

Top image via Uproxx.com.
Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:06 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 10:46 pm

Under Armour ad swipes at LeBron, Kobe, Dwight

Posted by Ben Golliverjennings-snake

Under Armour is a well-established player in some segments of the apparal market and they've been aggressively looking to expand their reach when it comes to basketball.

Their first power play was to corner the market on young, undersized, shoot-first point guards with street cred by signing Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks and Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Bobcats. When that failed to achieve world domination, the company opted for Plan B, which apparently is to volley shots at their rivals in hopes of getting their brand name out there in any way possible.

Their vehicle for achieving brand recognition is this understated spoken word rhyme/rap poetry video advertisement that takes subliminal jabs at Miami Heat forward LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and former Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson. James and Bryant are Nike athletes; Howard is with adidas; Iverson was the face of Reebok for the better part of a decade.

"We are not royalty," the ad begins. "We don't claim crown to a kingdom we haven't earned yet." 

This line, of course, is a jab at James, whose nickname is "King" and who has yet to win an NBA title.

"We don't represent the followers," the ad continues. "The ones who get bought, the Kings, the superheroes, or the snakes that get caught and wrought in something so fictional that athletes turn into actors, legacy reduced to a press conference concerning practice."

"Kings" references James again. "Superheroes" is a reference to Howard, whose nickname is "Superman" and who wore a cape while winning a Slam Dunk contest. "The snakes" is a reference to Bryant's nickname, the "Black Mamba". The press conference line, of course, recalls Iverson's infamous rant.  

In case you had any doubt about the intended targets or meaning of the words, Jennings uploaded a photo of himself to Twitter wearing an Under Armour t-shirt that reads, "Nobody likes a snake." The words appear in Lakers colors: purple and gold. 

This whole campaign has an obvious rap battle subtext feel. It's a David vs. Goliath tiff, as Jennings has essentially played one meaningful and memorable game in his NBA career -- the night he exploded for 55 points -- while his targets are all perennial All-Stars.

Really, this advertisement raises all the wrong questions. Which company is this for again? What's so bad about actually being an accomplished basketball player? Exactly how does a multi-channel marketing campaign entitled "Change Agents" represent a more authentic existence than the world inhabited by the game's brightest stars? Would the stars even care if Jennings is trying to make a buck off of them?

When the video fades to black, you're left picturing James, Bryant and Howard counting large piles of money, stopping briefly to dust each other's shoulders off. Oh well, I guess. At least we're talking about Under Armour for once.

A word of unsolicited advice: stunts don't sell sneakers for long.

Here's the Under Armour advertisement courtesy of YouTube user UAChangeAgents

Top image via Brandon Jennings on Twitter.

Hat tip: IAmAGM.com and The Basketball Jones.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 8:46 am

Nike slaps LeBronJordan.com with cease & desist

Nike has served LeBronJordan.com, a startup shoe company, with a cease-and-desist letter. Posted by Ben Golliver. lebron-james-shoes

While LeBron James is busy spanking himself on the court, Nike Inc. is slapping a startup shoe company with legal paperwork requesting that it stop using James' name on its website. 

According to the Portland Business Journal, Nike sent a cease-and-desist letter to LeBronJordan.com, a Brooklyn-based startup shoe company that sells shoes that look strikingly similar to Nike's Air Jordans and Converse Chuck Taylors (Nike owns Converse).

The site's proprietor, Aaron Fraser, claims his website's name isn't a mash-up of LeBron James and Michael Jordan, Nike's two most famous basketball endorsers, but instead an homage to his two godchildren
“I decided myself, I love footwear, why don’t I create my own footwear,” he said. “While we were discussing a suitable name, my wife suggested I use my two godsons.”
The Portland Business Journal notes that Nike's cease-and-desist has legally requested that the website change its name to avoid "public confusion."
In the letter, dated Jan. 7, Jaime Lemons, an assistant counsel at Nike, asks Fraser to stop using the LeBron and Jordan names, take down his website at LeBronJordan.com, and cease any sales activity under the company’s current name, arguing that it could cause “public confusion as to the source or affiliation of your products, resulting in infringement of Nike’s rights.”
Lemons notes that Nike has sold “significant amounts” of products using the trademarks Air Jordan and LeBron and owns several federal trademarks for those terms.
Fraser has responded, as you might expect, by decrying a company's ability to trademark an individual's name. Good luck with that argument. 

James has had an endorsement deal with Nike since entering the NBA career directly from high school, and he recently re-upped his contract in April 2010. Jordan's relationship with Nike dates back to the early 1980s.

Hat tip: HoopsHype.
Category: NBA
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com