Success in capitalism = selling out
[From Stephen B. Snyde for Friday tidbits...]
The term "sell out" has such a bad connotation in everyday society, but did you know that more often than not, financial success in the capitalistic world requires you to sell out? The funny thing about it is when you sell out, usually you take the heart and soul of what you built with you. Unless you're Phil Knight and you take Nike public, in which case you are allowing the general public to become co-investors in your company. Or you're Jay Z, who sold Rocawear for something like $300 million, plus he retained around 20% equity (damn smart).
Remember, 50 Cent wasn't a founder of Vitamin Water. The founders sold him a 20% stake. If you're the original owners of Vitamin Water, you just made an insane amount of money (they are probably billionaires -- look out, NBA ownership!), but the tradeoff was that you gave up the excitement of being its heart and soul. That's the price of for-profit.
Anyhow, the point of this post is that the And1 apparel/shoe line and the And1 Mixtape Tour long ago sold out to the makers of Avia (remember when Avia and the Nike Air Revolution were the hot high school team buys back in the late 80's?). And all this time you could have sworn Avia was bankrupt and And1 was on its way to becoming a mini-Nike. I remember reading about the young founders of And1 way back when. Wonder what they are doing now. Probably still playing ball somewhere, dreaming up the next hoop fashion line (that's passion).
In fact, as Joe Vecsey reports for Bounce Magazine, not even the And1 Mixtape Tour will ever be the same. The original founders have broken off into a splinter group called Ball4Real and will go heads up against And1 Mixtape. Now I have to disgustingly hit the channel button at 1:00 in the morning to be cleansed of streetball twice?
Even as a non-fan of And1, in truth I (and Poor Man's Commish) am saddened by the reality of And1 now being another brand name. We respect passion for the game, even if we're not on the same team. Is that passion there behind the And1 "product" anymore? I don't think the motivation is the same. Best of luck to Ball4Real, but it's like the Terminator movies: humans vs machines.