Kobe recruits a youth to buy Nike, but he might have his sights set on PEAK (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for Nike)
Happy holidays! It's the 7th week of our weekly NBA Chats and we bring you a special "Holiday Edition" for the Sneaker Heads. We talk about some recent trends in shoes, particularly the rise of PEAK and some ill-advised retros.
Welcome to the weekly NBA chats between contributor Brian Chung and Eric Perdiguerra! Week-to-week they break down some of the biggest headlines in Golden State Warriors Land and the NBA, including important topics such as Stephen Curry's ankles to Shannon Brown's 10-karat engagement ring to now fiancé Monica, the R&B singer. The off-court drama is just as important, if not informing how things play out on-court.
But before we get started, the weekly introductions:
Eric Perdiguerra, DJ, streetwear clothing designer, and, most importantly, Bay Area sports historian. Eric's got archives of sports knowledge you might as well call him a microfilm. His fandom is so strong and unwavering he even has an Antawn Jamison Warriors away-jersey with the lightening bolts down the side...that is actually worn-out and worn out (in public)! If that ain't dedication, I don't know what is.
Brian Chung is a hopelessly devoted Golden State Warriors fan who misses Alton Lister, Rony Seikaly, and Larry Smith. He prays that the early 1990s Bay Area sports dominance will return soon, which the A's, Giants, 49ers, and the Golden State Warriors will all be playoff-bound teams, again, in the same year. Brian also is a regular contributor to Golden State of Mind, the SB Nation Golden State Warriors blog.
In our seventh week of the chat wrap, the Orlando Magic have made bold moves to try and step back into the Wild Wild East, getting back Hedo Turkoglu and acquiring the electrifying Jason Richardson and former Warrior teammate Gilbert Arenas, setting themselves up to be a pretty formidable uptempo team. Speaking of the run and gun, the ultimate x-factor lies on the ‘heels' of Gilbert Arenas, one of the most charismatic figures in the league but sidelined for the last couple of years due to a handful of injuries and a suspension for one of the most talked about locker room pranks in history. Arenas went from a budding mega star with a nine figure contract, to a locker room virus that, as Dustin Canalin from UNDRCRWN pointed out, is even without a shoe deal, almost a staple among the league's upper echelon. Naturally, Gilbert has taken it upon himself to embrace his independence and rock whatever kicks his heart desires upon any given night. Not only does he have an opportunity to rock any shoe he wants to without restrictions due to allegiance, as a sneaker head himself, he probably gets to valiantly floss his collection during a playoff run. Seems like one of those things that can only happen in this new day and age, where players tweet, Allen Iverson plays ball in Turkey, and a team can sellout a jersey of their third string Asian point guard. As shoe collectors and shoe aficionados, we bring you a very special "Holiday Edition" of our weekly NBA Chat, strictly for the heads.
So what do you think B? NICEKICKS has already thrown it out there, which Orlando color schemed kicks might Arenas be rocking now that he resides in the Amway Center? But do you think this is going to start a trend in the NBA or do you think it's going to be more prevalent that guys like Javale McGee get deals with foreign market shoe companies?
B: Haha, I think Arenas might be the only player that could pull that off. His feet are still a billboard of sorts given all the scrutiny he's withstood in the last several years with his injuries and the gun-charge over a game of what.. ‘Words with Friends'? I doubt that if Brandan Wright suddenly started rocking different shoes every game, people probably wouldn't think anything of it. So, thankfully, Arenas' behavior still makes him relevant of sorts.
But Arenas may possibly be providing a new approach to marketing. Could a player possibly have multiple allegiances to different brands? There are four quarters to a game and warmups, too. He could rock a brand per quarter and separate brands for warmups. And maybe upcharge brands based on the ‘playoffs' since MORE people will be watching then!
On the flip side, you have PEAK which clearly doesn't care about a player's reputation as Ron Artest is one of the global representatives. Not that Ron-Ron has done anything illicit lately, but his behavior, to American basketball fans, tends to teeter towards the bizarre and hence the unmarketable. I think PEAK is pretty brilliant though for trying to find it's niche of b-grade players. But JaVale McGee making plays like this might make people hesitate on copping their shoes.
What are your thoughts about PEAK? Is Arenas "trying out" for a new shoe endorsement?
E: I'd like to think of PEAK and Li-Ning like how that instructional video starring J. J. Redick's perfect jump shot had its own cult following. I have yet to hear anyone I know to have purchased the Better Basketball series and I have yet to hear of anyone to have purchased a pair of PEAKs despite their appearances on the feet of the Javales of the league. But then again, I also own three pairs of UNDRCRWN's Layups. The fact that new types of sneaker companies are making their way on NBA courts is a testament to this new age of individualism and marketing. As much as I don't think the lowest rated player in 2K11 should have a shoe deal, more power to him getting laced up with his own kicks on the off chance PEAK could capture even just a tidbit, uhmm a smidgen of the ridiculous numbers pushed out by the major shoe labels. It's kind of interesting that not only are sneakers now competing with other brands, their are even competing with reproduced versions of their former selves.
(Honestly, does this party make you want to by PEAK shoes? - via Queenofsports.com)
The idea that new shoe companies like PEAK, Li-Ning, and even Under Armour are arising and attempting a bit of innovation (yes, innovation, being that anything non-retro now has become innovative) in the face of the era of retros and fusions is indeed a good thing. As for Gilbert, I think he's showing off his shoe collection more than he is trying to attract a new suitor. I'm pretty curious to see what shoe he rocks on a nightly basis, and no other sport really gives you that curiosity, at least as far footwear is concerned.
B: Wait, you mean you don't own the J.J. Reddick instructional video? I must be the only one to buy it and Adam Morrison's Better Basketball DVD on better defense. But yeah, PEAK does feel like some sort of myth or some strange marketing scheme like Sonic Burger commercials in places where the closest Sonic is not within hundreds of miles.
Your comment brings up two questions for me. The first is whether you, like JaVale, want to spend the prime of your career being one of the main faces of PEAK rather than be another endorser of Nike. Aside from Kevin Love, seems like most players on PEAK are at the tail end of their career, too -- Shane Battier, Jason Kidd, and Ron Artest. What does that say about JaVale by association? The second question to what extent do you find them innovative?
I totally agree that the crosspollinating of retro-aesthetics is kind of overdone, especially when it doesn't look like they're doing anything new (like Puff Daddy re-doing Sting's "I'll Be Missing You") besides a mishmash of different generations of Jordans or Pennys. Can you actually name a pair of PEAK, Li-Ning, and/or Under Armour shoes that you would actually considering buying or find differently innovative then this?
E: The idea that all the major shoe brands and even brands like Fila and Converse can always bank on their vault to provide a retro style to re-release should give them further support to create new styles. But it seems that most of the direction is pointed towards that idea, and sorting through the vault to try and bring back kicks like the Air Go and fuse different shoes together like the Jordan 6 Rings (picture) instead of trying to pioneer something fresh and new. As far as basketball shoes go, I would think about copping a pair of the Brandon Jennings, the Under Armour Black Ices.
I have a pair of Under Armour cleats and they are extremely comfortable, especially for cleats, so I figure they must make a pretty good basketball shoe. They are definitely inspired by styles of the past, but I think they are different and fresh enough, yet not over the top crazy, like having Baron Davis' bearded mug on the tongue. (Picture) I admit it's a bit difficult to throw down a hundred bucks on a shoe that Nike doesn't make but hopefully it'll force the big dogs to step their game up.
That said, the morning after its release, the Cool Grey 11s, are virtually all gone.
Everyone with a hook up, everyone trying to snatch one of the season's dopest Christmas presents, everyone who just had to do anything in their power to have them, spent the last eight hours of the morning trying to cop em. Still amazing to me. I don't know about you though B, but while everyone's gonna be rockin the gloomy all grey everything look, I'm going to trying to rock the fourth leading scorer in the league look with these possibly, POSSIBLY all the way to the All Star game.
B: I personally think that AND 1 shoes have not changed their style since the early two thousands. Monta's shoes look just like a pair of AND 1s I had in 2003. But, I will say that I enjoy the clean lines of Monta's AND 1s and AND 1s in general versus the Frankenstein mishmash of retro stylings that you alluded to. While you're enjoying Christmas in Mississippi (and possibly the all-star game!), I think I'd prefer to have a KD (Kevin Durant) "Christmas" in OKC!
Thoughts? Oddly, they're $88, which feels a little odd for a Nike especially if KD is one of the premier players of the league. I'd expect JaVale's shoes to be that much!
If you were Lebron and PEAK offered you the most ridiculous shoe endorsement contract that you could ever want, would you actually take it? By ridiculous, I not only mean major money but perhaps an opt-out clause whenever he wants, complete creative control, and ‘free lap dances' for life'. Is it really ‘all about the benjamins'?
E: I think in many ways its similar to Iverson playing in Turkey, mostly due to either his unwillingness to come off the bench or his unwillingness to play for less than he feels he deserves. For a lot of these athletes that have dreamed about playing on the world's greatest stage, the secondary dream would be to have not just a shoe deal, but their own shoe. Will Jeremy Lin ever get his own signature shoe from Nike, Reebok or Adidas? It's highly unlikely, but for the Lebrons, Kobes, and Durants, they are offered the luxury of keeping their integrity and having the big name brands cater to them. Al Harrington even went the Starbury route and created his own shoe line called Protege. You can cop some Stephen Jackson signature shoes at K Mart for under $40, with real alligator skin even.
B: With the 2010 coming to a close and 2011 right around the corner, what is one shoe you think folks should definitely snag before the end of the year? And what brand(s) do you think will make a splash in 2011?
E: I must admit Kobe's Christmas Day Grinch's might be the most intriguing colorway release in awhile, kind of on the same tip as altitude greens seen across Jordan 13s and even some Air Maxes. But straight up, when the Cool Greys first came out I wasn't that big of a fan, but their re-release has really caught my attention, along with the many others it seems. A handful of apparel brands also released conjoining designs to sort of pay homage to the release (cop the shirt here!).
So even though I might not be getting a pair this go round, it's good to see the shoe game still can pull out the heavy hitters every now and then. According to 23isback.com they'll be releasing the Concords next Christmas, so it'll definitely be interesting to see what kind of frenzy that'll put everyone in.
B: I have to say I'm most excited about the trajectory of PEAK. After visiting their website and their interesting self-promotional tactics (more on that in a second), I'm convinced that PEAK is the future. Why?
Welll, PEAK believes they have already conquered the NBA and the WNBA through partnerships and clearly with the endorsements of JaVale and Maria Sharapova's fiance Sasha Vujacic. But if that wasn't convincing enough, check out what PEAK website blogger, Charm, believes is PEAK's competitive advantage. You, too, will be convinced of that the Phil Knight of Nike is worried:
This is expected because if you think about it, Chinese make all of basketball shoes and almost all kinds of shoes that you can find in any US store. You can take a look at each shoe that you see and you'll find this tag: Made in China.
Why go for the shoes where the only thing that you are paying for is the name. The people who manufacture these shoe brands are the same people who manufacture Peak Shoes. For the same quality, you get basketball shoes discount.
So, what shoes do you plan to purchase for the holidays? Do you agree with our picks? Also, what are your thoughts of PEAK and Li-Ning endorsement dollars and their forthcoming global takeover of the shoe market?