Friday, June 8, 2007

Success in capitalism = selling out

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[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.



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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sick-ass adidas Kobe IIIs

Seems we've been talking a lot about shoes lately, with Jason Kidd's new Nike ad and the reference to Phil Knight. And now that Kevin Durant is turning pro, a $40 million-or-so deal (just like Kobe Bryant's) with Nike is surely right around the corner.

So I was randomly researching stuff recently when I came across the adidas Kobe IIIs shown in the picture above, which were never released because Kobe jumped ship. Maybe you knew this already, but I had no idea how sick these are/were. And let's not forget that the now-defunct raved about the performance of Kobe I. If they released the Kobe III (or whatever they'd call it), I might have to jump ship myself, being a loyal Nike wearer since the Air Force III followed by the Air Revolution followed by -- well, I could go on for days. And no, I'm not a sneakerhead. That's a little pet peeve of mine that I'll save for a longer rant on dreamblogue someday.

Here's the link to the Kobe III for close-ups and a short explanation...


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Friday, April 6, 2007

Nike's J.Kidd still has commercial value

Despite his well-publicized domestic problems, Nike still thinks Jason Kidd has commercial value.

How do we know this? Well, we got another casting call this week (recall the Jerry Rice and LeBron James casting calls).

Poor Man's Commish was a little too under the weather to get this out in time, but the fact remains, we got this email from a reputable casting agency earlier in the week...
"...a Nike ad featuring J.Kidd in Oakland/SF area. We're looking for other players [men, age 20-30] to be in it with him. It pays $2000.00 if selected and we'd like to interview those interested ASAP."
First guy I would've called would have been Hook Mitchell, who called last month to check in after dropping off the map for about a year. Oh, but he's like 36 by now.

Anyways, I guess J.Kidd still has some staying power? Been awhile since his original Air Zooms.


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Friday, March 30, 2007

Earth to Bill: basketball never had a crossroads

[From our new guest blogger, Stephen B. Snyde. Every Friday, we plan to have Stevie B. take us through the week that was in the hoop world. One blog post per thought. We'll still have our longer stories every now and then, but who wants to sit there and read 10,000 words from Bill Simmons to cap off the work week? Oh, what a coinkeydink. Stevie B.'s talking about Bill to lead off...]'s Bill Simmons was grossed out by O.J. Mayo's performance at the McDonald's All-America game the other night. He said that "basketball is headed for a crossroads", referencing the score-at-all-costs attitudes of today's star players, starting with Kobe Bryant's 50-point streak last week.

Hey Bill, I guess you missed that dossier called Sole Influence (Wetzel/Yaeger, Warner Books, 2000). Basketball isn't heading for a crossroads, it already had one almost 10 years ago, when adidas landed Kobe and Phil Knight vowed never again to let that happen to Nike. Only problem is, nobody had a choice of roads. Knight was so powerful, even he could not have imagined the dominoes that would later fall because of his decision. Three letters: A-A-U. It was like the Road Runner painting a fake alternate route for us Wile E. Coyotes.

Crossroads? Meep-meep!!


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