Yes, the pictures that appeared online today are accurate. Washington Wizards guard and Reebok’s No. 1 pitchman from 2010-2012, John Wall, is now wearing adidas.
“All the things we’ve done in the past have been releveant to the culture, and they’ve all been built around interesting stories, cool personalities and the right product,” Todd Krinsky, Head of Reebok Classics and Basketball, told SLAMonline late this afternoon.” I think over the last few years we’ve gotten away from that and become another basketball brand. So, we called a timeout. What we’re doing moving forward is, we’re still absolutely in performance basketball, we’re just going to have a different approach.”
“When the John [Wall] conversation came up,” says Krinsky, “it was, Moving forward, would he better better suited with our positioning or adidas’ positioning? We kind of felt the adidas side, giving where they’re going, would be a better home for him. So, we talked to him and made that decision.”
No, the internet rumor that began on Twitter shortly after the pictures emerged is 100 percent false. Reebok will not be discontinuing their performance basketball wing.
“The reality is, the stuff being talked about on Twitter is completely inaccurate,” says Krinsky. “We’re absolutely still in performance basketball, but we’re going to be looking for more storytelling, more retro-inspired new products. Pump will be be part of what we do, so will new personalities. But it’s really about creating our own space, and trying to create something that’s new to the young consumers that’s basically seeing a lot of brands do the same thing.”
What this means, essentially, is that for the near future Jameer Nelson, Jason Terry, Isaiah Thomas, Maalik Wayns and others will be wearing Answers, Kamikazes, Pumps, Questions and other Reebok Classics. Then, moving forward this year and beyond, new talent will be wearing new sneakers.
“We’re certainly going to sign new athletes; you’ll hear more about that after the season ends,” says Krinsky. “But we’re in the game, we’re signing athletes and we’re in basketball, just with our own voice like it used to be back in the day.”
Here is the official statement released by Reebok this afternoon:
“John is a tremendous player and person, and has been a great representative of the Reebok brand. We wish him all the best. He is in good hands with adidas. Basketball remains an important category for Reebok. We have a long and very successful heritage in the sport, which provides us with a unique point of view and place in the category. In the near future, we will announce new basketball assets, to join our current roster, who we feel best represent the direction our style-driven performance basketball business. We’re looking at athletes who are unique in their approach to style, their game and their life in general.”
And in case you wanted still more confirmation, here’s John Wall being greeted to the adidas hoops family, via Twitter:
— John Wall (@John_Wall) January 9, 2013