Photo: The Basketball Jones
Behold the ZigTech Slash. It’s Reebok’s attempt to up its tenuous hold in the hyper-competitive basketball sneaker market.The Slash was designed specifically for their newest spokesperson, top rookie John Wall – a speedy, athletic guard reminiscent of Allen Iverson – who represents Reebok’s most important basketball endorser since, well, Allen Iverson.
The Slash is also proof that the Reebok brand is as good as dead.
Chinese sportswear company Li Ning is grappling for U.S. basketball marketshare, and has signed one player from the top of each of the last two NBA drafts. Their latest footwear offering, advertised by this year’s second overall pick, Evan Turner, is nice enough. Under Armour, already an established sports apparel brand, is also making a foray into the basketball sneaker market. They inked budding superstar Brandon Jennings to a deal, and their sneaker is very attractive.
Meanwhile, current basketball apparel market leaders, Adidas and Nike, are thriving. Adidas latest venture with budding superstars Derrick Rose and Josh Smith are both very sleek looking, and Nike’s most recent incarnation of LeBron’s sneakers – dubbed “South Beach” – are typically beautiful.
Yet while the competition heats up, Reebok launches a dud. The gold base is off-putting, the blue squiggly is memorable for all the wrong reasons, and the black detail is just plain ugly.
Worse, the Reebok brand has invested heavily into the “Zig” technology responsible for those hideous squiggles. They pay Wall $25 million to endorse it, and have commercials featuring hockey star Sidney Crosby, quarterback Peyton Manning and wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. Perhaps the technology is great, but it will never expand outside the gym without upgraded style.
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