Lance Armstrong has been linked to performance-enhancing drug use for more than a decade, but Nike has remained by his side all throughout the years. According to a recent report in the NY Daily News, the sports apparel juggernaut did far more than just that.
Last week, the United States Anti-Doping Agency released 1,000 pages of evidence that claim Armstrong led an extremely sophisticated doping network. The evidence was released to explain why they stripped the seven-time Tour de France winner was stripped of his titles. As you know, Lance ended his fight against the doping accusations over the summer, which many considered to be an admission of guilt. Still, Nike continued to endorse him.
That all changed earlier this week when it was revealed that Kathy LeMond, the wife of American cyclist Greg LeMond, testified under oath in 2006 that Nike paid former Union Cycliste Internationale president Hein Verbruggen $500,000 to cover up one of Armstrong’s positive drug tests from 1999. The test at that time revealed Lance used a steroid called corticosteroids to treat saddle sores.
Boston Globe Patriots reporter Shalise Manza Young tweeted a picture on Wednesday of the New England QB speaking at a press conference, and she noted that Brady had a piece of tape on his left sleeve to cover up the Nike swoosh on his sweatshirt. The reason he did it is because he endorses Under Armour products and doesn’t want to be associated with the Nike brand. Too late for that, huh?
$300 basketball shoes. That little notion is driving the entire sports world insane this week.
Some people are shocked about the price, as if no one has ever seen the price of a nice pair of Salvatore Ferragamos or any other finely crafted shoe with less than 10% the research and technology of the LeBron Xs. Some are questioning LeBron’s character, as if he twisted Nike’s arm and forced them to overprice his signature show in some sort of evil genius plan to make every single person on the planet buy his shoes by making them incredibly unaffordable. And there are those who are trying to defend the whole ordeal. Good luck to the latter; people still hate LeBron for no real conceivable reason.
For the purposes of my own sanity, let’s look past the LeBron vitriol and let’s just concentrate on these cutting edge shoes and their wallet-slicing price tag. The real issue here is a question of “want” vs. “need,” and more specifically, who “wants” and who “needs” these shoes.
We live in a relatively free world where no one is forced to buy anything. For everything you can buy there is always an alternative that is more affordable (or more expensive, if you desire). So why is everyone worked up over the price of these shoes? Nike isn’t forcing you to spend $300 — which by the way is only a rumored price and not Nike’s set price — and there is no prerequisite saying you need to own a pair to cheer for LeBron and the Heat. You don’t even need a pair of $300 LeBron Xs to get some run in a pick up game. You can buy brand new basketball shoes for under $50 and have just as much fun at the local courts as the guy in a pair of new Kobes. And if you shop diligently, you might even be able to pick up a pair of new Kobes for under $100.
Like I said: the choices are there, no one needs to own a pair of LeBron Xs. And if you’re still angry at Nike and LeBron, vote with your dollar and don’t buy the shoe.
The 2012 London Games are being heralded as the women’s Olympics. 44% of all athletes participating in the Games were female, which is the highest it’s been. Women won the most medals for the US, China, and Russia, which were the top three medal-winning countries. 29 of the US’s 46 golds were won by women.
And how were the females rewarded? With a T-shirt from Nike that many are labeling sexist.
The shirt seen above is being sold on Nike’s online store and it has drawn criticism from different fashion blogs and Twitter users because of its dual meanings. “Gold Digging” can refer to the process of training for gold medals, but it’s also a reference to the phrase “gold digger,” which is a negative term for a woman who’s after a man for his money.
Nike was apparently hoping to receive attention for the provocative shirt. It lists the following description of the shirt on its website:
Now that Nike is the official sponsor of jerseys across the NFL, a lot of buzz has been created regarding what some perceive to be a backwards Nike swoosh symbol. If you look at the photo above, you may be inclined to say that the swoosh on Tom Brady’s jersey is backwards while the one on Drew Brees’ jersey is facing the correct way. The Twitter world was in an uproar on Thursday night with fans ripping Nike and the NFL for botching the jerseys and stitching a backwards swoosh on the right sleeve of everyone’s jersey. But the swoosh is indeed facing the right way.
LeBron James and the Miami Heat weren’t the only winners on Thursday night. Nike cashed in big, too.
The swoosh already had a commercial prepared for when James finally won his first ring. They released it on Thursday night after the Heat beat the Thunder in the NBA Finals.
The commercial is called “The Ring Maker,” and it depicts a jeweler crafting a championship ring for LeBron James. The crafting begins when LeBron is a high schooler, and it’s finally completed on the night James finally wins a title. It’s clear that this commercial wanted to emphasize James’ path to finally becoming a champion, and that Nike was there with him along the way.
LeBron James is one of Nike’s most recognizable athletes in the world, and he already has his own shoe line and clothing line through them. He just lacked the validation of being a champion. Now that he’s finally won his first ring, his marketing appeal should skyrocket. Nike is undoubtedly ready for a boost. This was a big night for them.
After its tremendous shackle shoes gaffe, adidas could probably learn a thing or two from Nike about tact.
Nike recently launched its BE TRUE 2012 campaign, which shows support for the LGBT community. As the shoemaker explains: “BE TRUE 2012 celebrates the achievements of the New York City, San Francisco and Portland communities as progressive leaders of LGBT life with city-specific footwear releases and accompanying hat and tee.”
The sports apparel giant is releasing unique, rainbow-themed shoes for each of those cities. The Portland kicks, pictured above, went on sale last week in the city for $130. On Friday, both San Francisco’s Flytops ($140) and New York’s Air Royals ($120) go on sale.
We applaud Nike for this move, and we’re sure the folks over at Nike’s Beaverton campus are giddy that this is happening in wake of their archrival making a regrettable PR blunder.
Here’s a video by SB Nation featuring all three shoes:
LeBron James received his third NBA MVP award in the past four years on Saturday and his achievement was recognized (read: capitalized on) by Nike. The sneaker and apparel company named LeBron “Employee of the Year,” and is releasing a special-edition shoe to commemorate the achievement.
Nike further salutes the three-time MVP with a special edition LEBRON 9 MVP shoe. Designed for elite performance and crafted with style, the LEBRON 9 MVP features striking Miami team colors. Gradient fades from red to black to comprise the upper with pops of yellow while details including an MVP logo on the heel and trophies printed on the sockliner mark the award. This special LEBRON 9 MVP shoe was made specifically for James, but a very limited amount will be brought to market next month.
The soles and heel of the shoe both have MVP references:
Jeremy Lin is so popular and coveted by advertisers, he’s had to turn down many offers. Luckily Nike already has an established relationship with him from when he turned pro in 2010, and they’re reportedly looking to take things to the next level.
Last week we shared a report saying Nike planned to create a signature shoe for him. Now we’re hearing Nike is making a “Linsanity” shirt that will soon be available online and in stores. Nike also reportedly has extended its contract with Lin to keep him from other shoe/apparel companies.
The New York Daily News says Lin will likely receive between $2-4 million in his endorsement deal with Nike. They also cite ABC News in saying Nike will soon roll out a “new promotional campaign built around Lin.”
Given the demand for all things Jeremy Lin, it’s no surprise to see Nike planning to capitalize. I’m just surprised it’s taken them this long to begin releasing Linsanity gear.
The Nike perks for attending the University of Oregon are not limited to athletes. This year, 500 limited edition shoes were made by Nike for students who are members of the “Pit Crew.” The Pit Crew is the nickname for the student section at the school’s basketball games, and apparently students will have to earn the shoes with their dedication.