As a long time sneaker enthusiast, I’ve seen a lot of trends (and companies) come and go. During my time in this industry writing for places like Nice Kicks and Sole Collector, I’ve said over and over again, the greatest era for sneakers could be summed up with one saying, “Pump Up and Air Out.”
During the era of the early Nineties, brands were aggressive. Reebok led the charge with campaigns featuring Dominique Wilkins tossing out a pair of Air Jordans in favor of his Reebok Pumps. It can’t be proven, but it might be these exact commercials that earned him the nickname “The Human Highlight Film.” Surely, for anyone that experienced this era of sneakers, these are highlights that have always remained memorable.
That era of confidence carried Reebok through the Nineties and resulted in a partnership with one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game, Allen Iverson. At this week’s Reebok event held in Las Vegas at the Project Trade Show, Iverson was asked why he partnered with Reebok. His answer, “Reebok let me be me.” The “take me as I am” mentality of AI is what made him loved, and it’s what made him hated, but most importantly, for many of us, it’s what made us fans.
In the last couple of years, Swizz Beatz has resurrected that swagger of Dominique and Iverson in its truest form with the creative direction of Reebok Classics. With his passion for the brand, its heritage and potential future, Swizz has undoubtedly become an important part of Reebok and the company’s future. He said today, “I wanted to take the old school, polish it and bring that brand out.” He’s not just a face for the brand; he’s passionate about it.
Reebok is family. They support each other in their creative endeavors, whether it’s sneakers or not.The latest family members, Tyga and Rick Ross, are just as passionate about their partnership with Reebok. It’s much more than just the shoes. It’s much bigger.
At this week’s event, Swizz Beatz even pointed out that Rick Ross has a Basquiat tattoo, a deeper than sneakers tie to another big part of Reebok’s bright future. Ross said today, “Reebok invested in our culture. Reebok invested in our future.” Ross recognizes that all of us are entrepreneurs and all creative in our own ways. Ross’ creativity will continue to shine with Reebok, as he takes on his own shoe, he so kindly let the crowd name, Rozay.
The feelings are mutual between everyone involved, Swizz Beatz, Dominique Wilkins, Allen Iverson, Tyga, Rick Ross, as well as the team at Reebok. Reebok helped celebrate Ross’ accomplishment for the best selling album in the country, God Forgives, I Don’t, a mentality that seems to fit well in bringing it all full circle. The direction of Reebok and its future is solidified with a group of people, from the both past and present, who genuinely care about each other and want to see each other to succeed in the future.
That in itself is Classic.