Christmas, Easter and the NBA Playoffs have always been a major stage for sneaker companies to reveal new heat to the masses. Typically, these events are the most publicized and televised games of the season, giving footwear outfitters of the best basketball league in the world great opportunities to market their products. Christmas reds & greens, Easter pastels and Playoff colorways with strong odes to our favorite athlete’s and their teams are what we can count on year in and year out. However, without having to forfeit team loyalty, the one event in sneaker history that gets most overlooked is not one that would have you rep a particular city or state. Think bigger…much bigger! You guessed it. We’re talking Dream Team, Redeem Team and any other Team USA line-up that features some serious heat on the court.
But before we get into it, let’s reflect on the significance of the Olympics and World Cup from a marketer’s perspective. International competitions have always been a top priority for Nike and consorts — rightfully so. Nowhere else, at no other point will you find a complete roster of signature athletes showcasing their talents and sneakers to multiple foreign markets simultaneously over a lengthy duration of time. In addition to the variety in styles and brands paraded, these competitions religiously mark the first introduction of the latest shoes not just for big name spokesmen but for team shoes and ‘nameless’ releases all together.
Taking it back to 2012, pre-London Olympics, when the Nike Hyperdunk made its debut. Of course, we remember King James winning the gold medal in his signature Lebron X that same summer, but not before giving the newest innovation of Hyperdunks a big boost and ushering in the Lunar era for Nike Basketball. Taking it back even further, Kobe did the same for a previous Hyperdunk model during the 2008 Olympic Games hosted in Beijing.
Now, it is safe to say that we will be given a plentiful assortment to choose from a little further down the road, but in the wake of Team USA prepping for international competition, let’s take this time and have a look at past Murica-themed footwear. We certainly have our favorites, and we’re sure you do as well, but if it came down to a single chance at gold, who would take it all?