What do the greatest athletes of all time have in common? Bet you could find a hundred different answers to that question, but I guess one of ours would be “the greatest sneakers of all time”! From Pele to Michael Jordan; Andre Agassi to Roger Federer, the top brands and the top sports champions have worked together in a partnership that has changed how sneakers are made- and how we think about them. Think about how some things go hand-in-hand, online casinos and real entertainment – a match made in heaven.
This site looks at that association, the history of this powerful connection, and why both athletes and brands benefit!
Of course we think of this as a modern phenomenon, but the link between athletes and branded footwear goes way back. In 1949 the Pro-Keds were produced as a sneaker targeted at professional basketball players, and in 1952 George Mikan was signed up to promote them. By 1953 his entire Lakers team was kitted out in Pro-Keds and their success over the next eight years- winning six championships- definitely helped promote Pro-Keds reputation.
It’s a partnership that has grown over the years. Throughout the nineties the trend for athletic endorsement of brand grew as both company and sports person realised the benefits of their partnership. In 1992 Hall of Famer Deion Sanders– who has the distinction of being the only athlete to ever play in both a World Series and a Super Bowl- was signed to Nike, and had his own line; the Diamond Turf.
In 1992 up and coming Dikembe Mutumbo was sponsored by Adidas and his own Mutumbo sneaker was a contemporary hit, if not quite one of the classics.
For the brands these athlete endorsements clearly showed the world that their products could take the very hardest of poundings and keep looking good – talk about a bonus! A major league athlete wearing your shoes is a sign of approval, of course, but more than that it’s a very public test drive for the product. Game after game after game your product is tested in front of the buying public; who could resist such a chance to shine!