Nike trolled rival apparel company adidas with a strong tweet about John Ross Saturday.
Ross ran a 4.22 40-yard dash time on Saturday, breaking the NFL Combine record (video here). The Washington Huskies product sent a tweet a few hours later holding up a Nike football cleat, which is what he wore while running in the event:
“On an island” is a reference to adidas’ campaign that got some headlines about how they were offering an island to anyone who beat the combine record in the 40-yard dash. Unfortunately, one of the conditions for winning the prize was having to wear adidas cleats. As a Nike guy, Ross not only did not win the island, but he generated some incredible publicity for the swoosh at adidas’ expense.
Nike is the official sponsor of the Olympic team, so it’s no surprise that they want to obscure any ties some of the Team USA athletes have to rival companies. For that reason, they arranged the Team USA basketball photo in a specific way to block its competitors from being seen.
As Nick DePaula pointed out, Team USA basketball’s photo was set up so that Harrison Barnes and Kyle Lowry, who are sponsored by adidas, had their shoes blocked. Similarly, Klay Thompson, who is sponsored by Antas, was in the back so his shoes were less visible:
Amazing. Nike did it again. Blocked out Barnes & Lowry's adidas and Klay's Antas in the Team USA photo: pic.twitter.com/EMIS6T3i7g
DeMar DeRozan’s foot right in front of Barnes’ (second from left) is well-placed. Jimmy Butler (second from left on bottom row) is crouched in a position to block both Barnes and Lowry. Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony and DeAndre Jordan are placed to block Thompson (third from right in back row).
This practice of blocking Nike rivals in the team photo is nothing new.
They also did it in 2008 with adidas endorser Dwight Howard:
A USA tradition since 2008, when players lined up in reverse order so Coach K himself could block Dwight's adidas: pic.twitter.com/VKIHe1yH12
We know Nike is serious about their business, and this is evidence of it. Carefully orchestrated photos like this also lead to some saying players like Candace Parker are left off the Olympic team because they’re not Nike athletes.
The Golden State Warriors are not the only winners in the Kevin Durant free agency decision. Apparently Nike thinks they are big winners too.
NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned on The Vertical’s free agency show Friday morning that Nike wanted to get back at Under Armour over the story from March of Steph Curry making them look bad. Curry chose to leave Nike for Under Armour when his contract with the swoosh was up, and there apparently was some sloppiness with Nike’s efforts to reclaim him.
So why does Nike like Durant’s move to Golden State? Woj says they believe that Durant can somewhat take the shine away from Curry:
For Nike, this is a coup: It wanted to slow UnderArmour's momentum with Steph Curry and Warriors. Now, KD promises to impact Curry's star.
The thinking here is that all the success the Warriors will have together will be shared by the team’s stars, thereby slowing down Curry’s superstar growth and Under Armour’s accompanying explosion in the basketball world.
However, some brand experts disagree with Nike’s thinking (or hopes) because they believe Curry is already so beloved by young fans, Durant being there with him will not affect things.
I don't think this helps Nike in the UA battle. Unless Steph stops being Steph, kids are always going to be more partial to him.
As a brand, Nike is most interested in seeing their players become winners and champions. Now they just need Durant to win his first championship, which seems even more likely, at least as far as the odds go.
Come on, Mav! Can you ballpark it?
What are people saying?
Kanye said a billion. So a billion. [Maverick smiles and points one finger skyward.]
Yeah. It’s a fantastic deal. Nike feels great about the deal. That’s the most important thing. As great as I feel, as great as LeBron feels—Nike feels fantastic about it. It’s the largest deal in the history of the company. Their hope is he makes even more. And our hope is that, too, obviously.
Kanye West, who has a strained relationship with Nike after leaving the company to sign with Adidas, was accused of taking a shot at LeBron on his track “FACTS” with the following line:
Nike, Nike treat employees just like slaves / Gave LeBron a billi’ not to run away!”
Even if the deal is for less than $1 billion guaranteed, LeBron will probably earn more than that when all is said and done. He’s destined to join this guy as one of the only former athletes with a net worth that is 10 figures.
Stephen Curry has become one of the most marketable athletes in sports, but he’s not an endorser of Nike or even Adidas – he’s with Under Armour.
It turns out that Nike had Curry, and could have had him for much longer had they not sensationally botched their sales pitch pitch.
ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss detailed the brand courtship of Curry, including the story of the terrible meeting Curry and his father Dell had with a Nike representative in August 2013.
Nike didn’t send major power broker Lynn Merritt to the meeting, offering marketing director Nico Harrison instead. The meeting began with one official mispronouncing Curry’s first name as “Steph-on” and never correcting himself, and a Powerpoint presentation that accidentally left Kevin Durant’s name in it as the target.
“I stopped paying attention after that,” Dell Curry said.
Nike was also not willing to give Curry the chance to run a Nike-sponsored camp for young players, and were not prepared to market Curry as one of their A-list stars. It only enhanced the chip on Curry’s shoulders, and Dell likened it to the fact that in college, the only power conference program to recruit Curry was Virginia Tech, and they would only take him as a walk-on.
“Wasn’t highly recruited, wasn’t highly respected, wasn’t highly thought of,” Dell said. “It was kind of like that, you know?”
Thanks to the influence of then unheralded Under Armour endorser Kent Bazemore, Curry ended up with them. He’s not exactly making $500 million like LeBron James is with Nike, but Curry is the big name at Under Armor now, and more importantly, they actually tried hard to get him, unlike Nike.
Jimbo Fisher and his son shared a great moment back in November after Florida State came away with a huge win over Miami. You would have to be cold-hearted to not crack a smile watching 9-year-old Ethan sprint into his dad’s arms. The folks at Nike were frowning.
“Hey got a text from the USA Director of Sports Marketing last night telling me of how good things look w FSU and our players and sideline staff, exposure for the Brand was exceptional. Then 5 min later I rec a new message…Said ABC cameras were on Jimbo and his Son ad end of the game…His son was Wearing Under Armour FSU sweatshirt! Ouch. Can we please ask Jimbo to eliminate that from the son’s wardrobe in the future! Let me know if I can help w anything. Thx guys. MD”
Yes, Nike was concerned about a 9-year-old wearing an Under Armour sweatshirt. The Wall Street Journal asked FSU’s senior associate athletics director Monk Bonasorte about the request, and he said FSU administrators interpreted it as a “joke.”
“What am I going to do, go to coach and say, ‘Hey can you take that shirt off him?'” Bonasorte said. “I’m not going to call Jimbo Fisher and tell him what his son can wear.”
Nike said in a statement that its relationship with FSU athletics does not extend to the coach’s family and Fisher declined to comment. For what it’s worth, Ethan was shown wearing Nike brand apparel during and after subsequent games — including when the Seminoles defeated Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game.
We know Nike is protective of its powerful brand, but that seems like a bit much.
The cleat, which is available as of June 20, was created with some of Trout’s insights and is lightweight and designed for speed.
Via Nike’s website:
The first signature cleat for star outfielder Mike Trout, the Nike Lunar Vapor Trout redefines the balance of speed and power in baseball and embodies the future direction of the game. Informed by Trout’s own insights, the Nike Lunar Vapor Trout is designed for the directional speed needed to steal more bases, get to more balls in the outfield, and get out of the batters box quickly. Equipped with a durable, lightweight Nike Lunarlon foam midsole for comfort, the cleat features a split Pebax speed plate for ultra-responsive movement across the field. The midsole also informs a lively aesthetic that captures the spirit of Trout’s game and Nike Vapor technology – sleek, modern, athletic, and extremely fast.
In addition to the cleat, the Vapor Collection includes sliding tights, batting gloves, a sleeve, a cap and socks.
Below is a video of Trout talking about the cleat:
You’re probably wondering how it’s possible that Trout is the first Nike player since Griffey to get his own cleat and asking about Derek Jeter. Yes, Jeter had his own cleat, too, but that was made by the Jordan Brand, not Nike specifically.
I don’t know about you, but “Back to the Future II” was my favorite movie in the series. Was anything better than when Marty McFly and Doc Brown go to the future and Marty goes to Cafe 80s? I think not. And was anything better than all the gizmos from the future? Not a chance.
Those hoverboards were as sick as can be. And nothing topped Marty’s shoes and outfit.
Nike already released the Back to the Future II Air Mag shoes (eccentric closer Brian Wilson was a huge fan), but those lacked the power laces that took the sneakers to the next level. Now it sounds like Nike will be introducing the power laces before long.
During an appearance at the Jordan Brand’s Flight Lab space in New Orleans earlier today, designer Tinker Hatfield was asked about the possibility of seeing power lacing next year, and his answer may surprise you.
“Are we gonna see power laces in 2015? To that, I say YES!” said Hatfield.
Heck yes. Game on. There aren’t a whole lot of “wants” I have in life, but this definitely goes to the top of the list. Let’s just hope they don’t cost four figures the way the shoes did.