We offer you a top 3 of the most important facts and decisions in the history of sneakers in the NBA!
As is the case in all sectors of activity, the decisions we make that seem logical at a given moment will have consequences for the future. While some are sometimes anecdotal, other decisions will however have a huge impact on the story. We offer you our top 3 of the greatest turning points in the history of sneakers in the NBA.
3rd: Nike misses Shaquille O’Neal
In 1992, Shaquille O’Neal arrived in the NBA and was selected by the Orlando Magic in the first position. While the huge prospect is a sneaker free agent, Nike et reeboks are competing to secure the services of the very promising pivot. After a conclusive interview with reeboks“Shaq” arrives at his interview at Nike dressed head to toe in Reebok. The reason is simple: the equipment manufacturer has agreed to offer a signature shoe to the pivot, and he wants to make it clear to Nike that they will have to offer him the same thing to secure his services.
But this is not the case with the swoosh brand at the time, which believes that the risk is too great. Nike will therefore “voluntarily” miss one of the best pivots in the history of basketball. But not only: the “Shaq” has a fun and extroverted character, which gives him immense popularity that goes far beyond basketball. A huge shortfall for the swoosh brand, which nevertheless managed to bounce back quite well in the following decades!
During an interview conducted at the time, Shaquille O’Neal had himself confirmed this story. So we leave him the final word:
“When I was drafted, they (Reebok) gave me the opportunity to have my own shoe. Nike was interested, but they didn’t want me to have my own signature shoe.”
2nd: Nike lets Stephen Curry slip away
Stephen Curry arrived in the NBA in 2009, and was selected in the 7th position by the Golden State Warriors. Quite quickly, the playmaker joins forces with Nike. The contract that binds the two parties ends in 2013, when an interview is organized with Dell Curry (Stephen’s dad, former NBA player then present), Stephen Curry, and several managers and sales representatives from Nike.
It is at this precise moment that the story will be profoundly modified. During this interview, multiple rather improbable errors will push Stephen Curry to leave the swoosh brand. First of all, a recurring error made by the commercial of Nikewhich referred to the player as “Stephon” instead of “Stephen”.
But the errors of Nike are not going to stop there! The presentation continues, and Stephen Curry sees many occurrences of the name “Kevin Durant” instead of his own name…a copy-and-paste error. Dell Curry remembers that moment like it was yesterday:
“From that moment, I stopped following: They already had a trio. They had Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant as their three major players. If Stephen had re-signed, we would have gone behind them”.
We know the rest: Stephen Curry joins Under Armourhe completely exploded on the courts by becoming unquestionably the best shooter in the history of basketball, and will have such a popularity rating that he will even go so far as to have his own brand, with Curry Brand !
1er: adidas refuse to sign Michael Jordan
The sentence may seem implausible afterwards. But in the 1980s, basketball was different and the interiors were popular. Michael Jordan arrives in the NBA and he immediately and transparently announces that he would very much like to join the equipment supplier adidas ! The brand with the three stripes is then not very enthusiastic about the idea of associating with “MJ”. The reason is as simple as it is incredible: Michael Jordan is certainly a huge prospect; but he is an outside player, which is less interesting for adidas, who prefer to focus on the pivots. It is besides the mythical Hakeem Olajuwon, who was selected in first position the year of the draft of Jordan; in front of “His Airness”.
The equipment manufacturer then takes the most important decision in the history of sneakers in the NBA: the refusal to sign with Michael Jordan! This sentence does not seem realistic today, but it is what happened: adidas does not want to offer a big contract to an outside player, whose marketing potential would be lower than that of a “big player”. adidas will also sign a certain Patrick Ewing the following season!
adidas simply missed out on the most influential player in basketball history to date… who will also have his own mark later with Jordan Brandand a successful and still active signature shoe line in 2023, when he last retired… 20 years ago!