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Meanwhile at Reebok. After announcing your long-term strategy to refocus global commitment to performance basketball, what would you do? The Authentic Brands Group company has elevated its relationship with NBA legends Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson from endorsers to decision-makers. The two icons have been named President and Vice President of Reebok Basketball, respectively, in a manoeuvre aimed at reclaiming the brand's position in the competitive landscape of basketball.
O’Neal played a key role in the acquisition of the brand from Adidas (which had owned it since 2006) in 2021 for a reported $2.5 billion. And when O’Neal teased the big news on social media, fans were excited but unsure what it meant. The announcement clears up the speculation: this is not some superficial appointment. The basketball legends are taking on substantial roles, involving everything from products and marketing to player relationships and grassroots initiatives.
Reebok CEO Todd Krinsky emphasised that O’Neal and Iverson are “not just faces for a marketing blitz, but integral components in the brand's revival in basketball. Their depth of understanding of the sport and influential voices will not only add weight to Reebok's decisions but also potentially steer negotiations and partnerships.”
"These aren't just honorary titles. Shaq and AI are here to do more than consult; they'll have active roles in the boardroom," Krinsky stated. Their appointments aren't just for show—they indicate a serious commitment to reshaping Reebok’s future in basketball.
Back to the Roots
Both O'Neal and Iverson have a storied history with the brand. O'Neal, who first joined Reebok in 1992, is already a major shareholder of the brand's parent company, Authentic Brands Group (ABG). Iverson, who started his partnership with Reebok in 1996, has been pivotal in community programs and initiatives, including the Iverson Classic high school basketball showcase.
O'Neal laid out his vision, saying, "We're not just looking at product and players; we also aim to dive into the grassroots level of the basketball community." The aim, then, is to blend Reebok's historical strength in basketball with a modern touch, appealing to a new generation of fans and athletes.
Competition & Strategy
The appointments come at a time when the basketball apparel market is heating up, with competitors like Puma, New Balance, and Converse vying for a piece of the pie. Despite the increased competition, Krinsky believes Reebok has an edge thanks to its long legacy in the sport and its ability to merge fashion with athletic performance.
Moreover, the rising global influence of basketball gives Reebok a fertile ground to expand. "Basketball is not just an American phenomenon anymore. It’s global, and it influences more than just what shoes people are wearing," Krinsky added.
While Reebok is playing its cards close to the chest, there are hints at technological innovations in the pipeline. According to Krinsky, the brand is in talks with a few high-profile players and is testing new performance technology at local high schools. There's also buzz about modern updates to retro products, blending vintage charm with modern tech, as part of their broader strategy.
It seems like right now, Reebok's just flexing—and there's a game-changer ahead.