December 18, 2009: Jordan Brand, a division of Nike, has officially unveiled the third signature basketball shoe from all-star guard Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets. A special limited edition Jordan CP3.III will launch in select retailers on Dec. 26, with a nationwide launch scheduled for Jan. 2, 2010. MSRP for both is $118.
Jordan Brand will support with print, online and experiential marketing. Other members of Team Jordan include Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Mike Bibby, Ray Allen, CC Sabathia and Derek Jeter.
Paul, who has been wearing the new shoes in games, followed a tradition established with his first two signature shoes by putting symbols and elements on the shoe that represent his personal life. Previous symbols included a 61 for his 61-point game in high school, which in turn was a tribute to his grandfather, who passed away at the age of 61; and markings representing his love of bowling. The new shoe includes such elements as multi-color specks that represent the confetti from Mardi Gras. The colors on different styles of CP3.III are also part of New Orleans and my life: purple and gold are for Mardi Gras, there are the home colors of the Hornets.
The CP3.III also contains design elements intended to offer maximum support and cushion impact for the wearer while extending the life of the shoe. “We’re constantly working to develop new technologies that complement Chris’s advancement in the game of basketball,” Jason Mayden, Jordan Brand senior footwear designer, said in a statement. “The performance elements incorporated in the Jordan CP3.III will only enhance his explosive, agile and fast style of play.”
Paul spoke with NYSportsJournalism.com about the CP3.III shoe, the rebuilding of New Orleans and other aspects of his life.
NYSportsJournalism: Your Jordan Brand shoes are known for the images and symbols from your personal life. What can we find on the new CP3.III shoes?
Chris Paul: On the bottom are honeycombs, which represent the New Orleans Hornets,. There are crests on the shoe for New Orleans, which is also called Crescent City. If you look at the shoe, is looks as if there are just different design elements, but they actually are pieces from my life. There's a special “family crest” graphic with details representing my mother, father, brother and grandfather. One of the hexagons features my father’s initials (also “CP”) surrounded by the number 28, which is how long parents have been married. There also are multi-color specks that represent the confetti from Mardi Gras. The colors on different styles of CP3.III are also part of New Orleans and my life: purple and gold are for Mardi Gras, there are the home colors of the Hornets, that type of imagery.
NYSJ: Will you be doing marketing support?
Paul: yes, there will be several elements: online, print . . . I'm wearing the shoes now so people get to see them.
NYSJ: Why should fans be excited about the shoes?
Paul: I'm excited about the shoes. I'm honored to be part of Jordan Brand. Anyone who goes out and gets the shoes, I really appreciate that. You'll not only get a quality shoe but you'll learn more about me and the person I am.
NYSJ: And they'll become better point guards?
Paul: (Laughs) I can't guarantee that!
NYSJ: Do fans still respond to athletes as endorsers? If people see Chris Paul in his new Jordan Brand CP3.III shoes will they go out and buy them?
Paul: I hope they do. But they also have to be high-quality shoes, which these are.
NYSJ: Would you like to be a guest puppet in the marketing from Nike with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James?
Paul: Nah. I'm good without that.
NYSJ: New Orleans has come a long way from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but there is still a lot of work to do. What are you and the Hornets doing to re-energize the community and get tourists coming back?
Paul: We are doing a lot of different things. I am working with my CP3 Foundation to do a lot of things in the community. During Thanksgiving, my teammate David West and I took 100 kids to Toys 'R' Us and gave them each $100 and allowed them to pick out gifts for them and their friends. The city of New Orleans is one big family. It's all about helping each other and supporting each other.
NYSJ: Have you seen The Princess and The Frog, which takes place in New Orleans about 100 years ago?
Paul: I haven't had the opportunity, but it seems like a really good movie.
NYSJ: What do you think about the NFL's New Orleans Saints?
Paul: I'm excited for them. They have a really good shot at going all the way.
NYSJ: What do you think about the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, which will be in Cowboys Stadium and could see 100,000 people in attendance?
Paul: It's going to be crazy!
NYSJ: What's it like when Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand guys get together? Is there one-upmanship showing off your signature shoes?
Paul: We all get together during the summer and talk and check out the shoes before the season starts. It's like a big Jordan party.