Newt Gingrich eat your heart out. For this year’s All Star game in Orlando, Nike has launched a line of space themed sneakers to be worn by Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant.
Unfortunately, Nike’s choice seems to relate more to the location of the game than to the statements (misstatements?) of any former Republican frontrunners. The shoes are meant to call up associations to Florida’s involvement in space exploration.
The “Space Exploration sportswear pack” will be released on February 23rd, with basketball models released on the 25th, one day in advance of the All Star Game. However, James, Durant and Bryant will be the only professionals to wear the shoes during the game itself.
Each of the three stars’ shoes will feature a “mission patch” that emphasises an aspect of their game or personality. Design-wise, the shoe company released a statement saying that the new product line is meant to “pay homage to the supernova — arguably the most powerful force in the universe.”
Of course, everyone knows that Jeremy Lin is the most powerful force in the universe.
Speaking of Lin, in spite of his short tenure as an NBA star, many people are starting to look at him as a potential spokesman. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune reports that some have even gone so far as to call him capable of filling the hole left by Yao Ming.
Before he retired, Ming worked for the likes of Pepsi, Apple, McDonalds and Visa. An extremely influential figure in China — the NBA’s biggest non-US market — Ming topped the Forbes China celebrity list for six years.
Lin’s recent success has left sports marketers hoping that he can help bring the huge Chinese market to more US brands.
That said, the focus at the All Star game, or at least Nike’s focus, is space. While future astronauts form a slightly smaller audience than East Asia, the campaign does tap into the sudden resurgence of buzz around space travel. It should be interesting to see how the new line works out, but, regardless, Nike’s campaign is better news to NASA than the most recent budget.
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