June 23, 2010: Reebok has officially anointed John Wall as the player whom it believes will lead the brand out of the NBA footwear shadows of rival Nike and big brother/owner adidas.
Wall, expected to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Washington Wizards in the NBA draft on June 24, will get to earn his reported $25 million, five-year deal with the company right out of the box. Wall will wear the new basketball line of Reebok's ZigTech Zig Slash performance collection in the NBA, and will be featured front and center in a multi-media marketing effort scheduled to launch June 24 with a TV spot that will air during ESPN's coverage of the draft.
Support includes print and Internet. Lead agency is DDB Worldwide.
According to Wall, who wore the new shoes during pre-draft workouts with the Wizards and was part of a pre-draft press conference, “I’m excited to debut Reebok’s Zig Slash basketball shoe on the court. "I’ve been training in Zigs and the extra energy the shoes give me is like nothing I have ever felt before. Reebok believed in me when no one else did. And now, I believe in them and the new technology they have to offer me as a player.”
The strategy would put Wall, who played for one season at point guard with the University of Kentucky before declaring himself eligible for the NBA draft, in a position long held by Allen Iverson as the face of the Reebok brand. Iverson, who signed a life-time contract with Reebok in 2001, may or may not play in the NBA this season after taking a leave of absence from the Philadelphia 76ers this past March.
Reebok also lost a key NBA marketing spokesman in 2008 when Rajon Rando of the Boston Celtics switched to Nike. Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets also is a major NBA Reebok endorser, but he did not play last season due to injury and his per game scoring average has dropped from 25 PPG in 2006-7 to 19.7 PPG in 2008-09.
Wall joins a Reebok roster of sports endorsers that also includes NBA players Jamal Crawford, Brevin Knight and Jason Terry; NFL players Peyton Manning, Chad Ocho Cinco and DeMarcus Ware; Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin of the NHL; MLB's Tim Lincecum and David Ortiz; and international soccer player Thierry Henry.
"John is a unique player who has a huge cultural influence that separates him from the pack." — Todd Krinsky, Reebok
"John is a unique player who has a huge cultural influence that separates him from the pack," Todd Krinsky, Reebok head of sports and entertainment marketing, said during a pre-draft press conference in New York on June 23. "He has a distinct swagger on the court and an aspirational style and flair off the court. John's individualism and energy make him the perfect fit for the Reebok brand."
Reebok said that Wall would be the "premier athlete" to wear ZigTech footwear not only for training, but also for competition. The first ZigTech basketball shoe, ZigTech Slash, is scheduled to hit stores nationwide Oct. 15.
“This partnership could not come at a better time for Reebok,” said Reebok president Uli Becker. “After a hugely successful launch of our ZigTech training footwear collection, we wanted to extend our technology into new categories. There is no better athlete in the world to debut our ZigTech on-court footwear than the bold, energetic and exciting John Wall.”