by Ben Osborne
Ironic that when I sit down on my couch to write this up, finally fully armed with the materials and time needed to make this post official, the Spurs and Pistons are playing on TNT. Why is this ironic? Cause it was games like the last Spurs-Pistons matchup, when the Pistons won in SA, that had us feeling so good about our most recent Allen Iverson cover. I wouldn’t say we regret it now; it looked amazing and like I wrote before, AI has always sold well and been a SLAM guy, so him being traded to a team we thought could contend for a title was more than enough reason to put him on. However, the contend for a title/”needs a ring. Now” line of thinking doesn’t look too hot right now. Maybe we should have gone with a different line. I mean, my watching them tonight isn’t that different than what I’ve done many nights this season; the Pistons collection of talent and personalities has led me to watch probably more of their games than any other team’s. And there are still occasions where I say to myself, “If they could just put it all together at the same time, maybe they could make a ru—” and then AI takes a bad shot, Sheed gets a bad tech or Michael Curry makes a bizarre substitution, and I admit to myself that they will struggle to win even one round in the Playoffs.
But this isn’t even about all that. This is about AI, and how regardless of how this season turns out, we’ve got love for him. And so do many of you. So check this out: You may remember that a week or so after the cover, we posted this cover video, and as some commenters noticed, Allen can be seen at the end signing a never-before-seen pair of blue Reebok Questions. Well, he handed me that shoe for the sole (no pun intended) purpose of us giving it away on the site. Since Reebok had been such a help in us executing the shoot, I wanted to do them the favor of running some product info about the shoes with the contest, as well as track down the other half of the pair this signed shoe came from. Well, I went one for two. While hanging out with at a Reebok/AI event in Phoenix last weekend for which we made the program (below), I was officially informed by a few Reebok folks that there are only 100 pairs of these for sale; they’ll retail for $99.99 and be in just a handful of Champs Stores in the Detroit area. What they didn’t have for me was the other shoe.
I feel a little bad not having the whole pair to give away, but not too bad. I’d hope that real AI fans wouldn’t dare to wear this shoe even if they had the pair, considering it’s a rare shoe signed by an iconic player at a SLAM cover shoot, and there’s video in which you can watch him sign the shoe. You guys should know what I like in my contests by now: passion and subjectivity. It’s simple: head down to the comments section below and tell me why you deserve this shoe. I’ll read ‘em over, pick the person I think is the most deserving winner, and then mail that person one of the cooler pieces of AI memorabilia you could ever want.
A couple notes about the event I attended in Phoenix after the Rookie-Sophomore Game…
-The “closest we’ve seen to Michael Jordan” line I use in the title of this post comes from Reebok VP Todd Krinsky’s reminding the assembled media that AI’s 13 signature shoes mark the longest line of anyone but MJ.
-Chinese journalists (and apparently their readers/viewers) love AI.
-AI was wearing a Montreal Canadiens hat, so even though a recent YouTube post indicates that he shorn the cornrows Thursday night and thereby had short hair while he was at the event I attended, he didn’t show it at all (if he had, I wouldn’t have gone so crazy looking for Lang Saturday at practice media availability so he could Twitter/film AI with his new cut.)
-The media session with Iverson, Krinsky and free champagne segued into a party that I chilled at for an hour or so before leaving to meet Lang and Ryne at the T-Mobile event. Lucky I left when I did, or else I might have gotten tasered.
OK. Forget all that stuff and focus on the task at hand: tell me why you deserve AI’s signed shoe below. (By the way, as I typed, the Pistons just played an inspired 4th quarter before losing to the Spurs, 83-79, despite AI’s 31 points. Sigh.)