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Monday, June 28th, 2010 at 5:52 pm  |  27 responses

No Ceilings

Just Wall (John) and Reebok.

by Tzvi Twersky

As of this past Thursday’s NBA Draft, the future of the Washington Wizards rests on the slender shoulders of John Wall.  Ted Leonsis, Ernie Grunfeld, Flip Saunders and the Wizards aren’t the only ones counting on the rookie to resurrect a snakebitten franchise—as of last Wednesday, Reebok is, too.

Thirty-six hours before shaking David Stern’s hand, in a hastily arranged but well executed press conference in Times Square,  Reebok officially announced that John Wall had agreed to a  “multi-year, multimillion-dollar deal” with Reebok.

In addition to adding John Wall to a basketball roster that already includes Jamal Crawford, Jameer Nelson, Danilo Gallinari and Allen Iverson, Reebok also unveiled Wall’s first shoe, the ZigTech Slash.

“After a hugely successful launch of our ZigTech training footwear collection, we wanted to extend our technology into new categories,” said Reebok’s President Uli Becker.

While “recruiting” Wall, Reebok sat him down with Allen Iverson and others who could help the company woo him. Ultimately, though, it was his adolescent connection–for the better part of his teenage years, John Wall played Reebok grassroots ball— that truly helped the company land him.

“Reebok believed in me when no one else did,” said John Wall, referring to his high school days in Reebok camps. “Now, I believe in them and the new technology they have to offer me as a player.”

Reebok’s done very well over the past few business quarters, selling vast quantities of the revolutionary ZigTech running shoes and muscle-toning EasyTones. But since Allen Iverson’s NBA success has waned, Reebok’s effort—and success—pedaling basketball gear has waned, too.

Enter John Wall.

“John is a unique player,” said Todd Krinsky, Reebok’s head of sports and entertainment marketing. “He has a distinct swagger on the court and an inspirational style and flair off the court. John’s individualism and energy make him the perfect fit for the Reebok brand.

“I think he’s grounded,” Krinsky told SLAM. “Like, you’re not gonna see him doing silly thing. He doesn’t go get a tattoo cause the other guys get tattoos. He’s just his own dude. He wants to be his own man. He wants to make his own decisions. That’s why John Wall’s with Reebok.”

There’s a lot of pressure on John Wall—pressure to carry an NBA franchise, help carry a brand—but he’s still only 19, and has never played an NBA game.

“That’s why we’re gonna go slow,” says Krinsky when asked about the high expectations. “We feel like he’s gonna be an explosive player right out of the gate. But we also know that there are adjustments that take place when you go to the next level, and we are willing to grow with him.”

Reebok’s willing to expand their Wall offerings, adding off the court products, when he’s deemed ready. If the Wizards take the same slow and steady approach, John Wall may very well be plastered all over your wall for the next decade.

His first pair of Reebok shoes, the ZigTech Slash, drop on October 15th. His first public action with the Wizards, a summer league game in Vegas, takes place on July 11th against the Golden State Warriors.

Keep your eyes locked—on his game, and his kicks.

john-wall-zig-basketball

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  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I’m not a big fan of the shoe, but gotta give John Wall props for going with the brand he felt the most loyalty towards. I thought LeBron would sign with adidas back in the days because of that reason, since they outfitted him and his St V’s team in high school, but Bron is a businessman (or a business, man?)

  • http://soundcloud.com/boy-sanchez Boy Sanchez

    Actually, I think I like that shoe…

  • http://soundcloud.com/boy-sanchez Boy Sanchez

    And for anyone that says he hates the shoe or JWall made a very bad decision or Reebok sucks right now, just remember how many good shoes this brand has delivered.

  • http://www.toooast.com BMFS

    The profile is nice, similar to some of the recent Nike offerings like the KDs… but that scaffolding is ugly.

  • Kyle

    Looks like a wrestling shoe…respect him for being loyal to reebok tho

  • riggs

    I’m sorry but these are some ugly a** sneakers, from the mesh tongue to the horrible pattern on the upper. Also, what is wrong with the outersole towards the front? is that in the design or is it actually peeling?

  • J.C.

    Kinda feel like that whole trend of adding ridiculous looking things to shoes and calling it “technology” died a while back. I’m reminded of silly looking kicks that looked like moon-boots with boosters on them. The best/most popular performance shoes in the game right now, like the Hyperdunks/rizers, Lebron VII’s, Kobe’s etc. all just look like basketball shoes.

  • http://www.yougotdunkedon.com LilKDub503

    The shoes are fine until you get to that awkward ziggy whatever on the bottom. That looks like complete sh*t. It’s gonna take a leap of faith and a good day at Foot Locker for me to cop a pair.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Don’t like them.

  • http://counterkicks.com John Brilliant

    Good stuff, Tzvi. Saw you on the official Reebok media video at the event. Ha

  • manny

    rather get them KD’s

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ The Promise

    Decent looking shoe, I may buy them.

  • http://slamonline.com JL

    I remember him saying Nike’s were what he liked and makes good shoes and all, but signing with Reebok was business. Now it’s because of past experiences… hm… Who’s really going to take the deal with less money and potential? Not me.

  • maeng

    the shoes are hideous!

  • guamboy

    butt f***ing ugly.

  • ab_40

    Reebok… they killed yao his feet so I’ll never wear those. I had em a few years a go the ‘new school’ pumps they were ok shoes. Untill the upper broke, the fabric just tore off. So I’m off of reebok shoes they’re terrible.

  • lupe

    It is 2010, no one should be playing basketball in Reeboks

  • alfonso

    Nice job by reebok personally i like their products their different than what everybody wears i wear nike and adidas also but if i wear reebok i stand out since not every body wears them every body like some j’s or kobe’s or lebron’sor some adidas ts they are too common nowadays

  • slamfan4life

    shoe’s suck

    “Doesn’t get a tattoo just because others do”

    Such an ignorant thing to say, and the kid DOES do silly things….John Wall dance anyone?

    Then talkin about how he didn’t have “fun” anymore playing @ UK

  • http://slam.com Ruach Tang

    J. Wall doin it big already proly on the next cover of slam.

  • http://claydefayette@yahoo.com Clay

    They look to be a shoe for a post player to wear, not someone as fast as John Wall.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Overrated shoe and bball player. I wish Bledsoe would have stayed and showed everyone that he could have played the same way as Wall. This shoe is not for basketball, this is a hiking boot. He does do silly things, breaking into an abandon house in Raliegh. Come on reebok reps I am from NC, and this kid still has some growing to do, but hey I would have signed to, to get my mom’s a house too, like was said at the NBA draft. He knows this shoe sucks, I just hope he lives up to the hype, and not become a bust in DC.

  • Christian Waterman

    Not a fan of these but the shoe looks good in the white/black/blue CW.

  • L

    UGLY. L

  • Chris

    Has definite echoes of the Zoom Kobe 3 ‘waffle’ shoe…
    http://www.kenlu.net/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=1713&thumb=1&d=1201754883

  • MrVanEk

    Doesnt matter how ugly they make the shoes,
    if John Wall wears em, theyll sell..

  • http://SLAM CHEESE

    I TRIED THE ZIGTECHS ON NOT THESE BUT THE RUNNING SHOES I WILL ADMIT THEY WEAR MORE COMFORTABLE THAN I EXPECTED I THINK THE SOUL IS WEIRD LOOKING BUT HOW THEY MADE MY FEET FEEL I SAID THE HELL WITH IT I’M GETTING THESE AND WON’T CARE WHAT ANYBODY SAY AND BESIDES THE SHOE IS NOT THAT BAD AND NIKES OR JORDANS DONT HAVE ANKLE SUPPORT IF I JUMP AND END UP LANDING ON SOMEBODY’S BIG ASS FEET

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