Wednesday, February 13, 2008

TV Special: Swoosh! Inside Nike

A number of us at OSD decided to have a little get together this evening so we could talk about politics (yes, sneakerheads do VOTE), the latest debacle of Jay-Z getting pissy with Rihanna at the Grammy’s, the economy and, of course, sneakers.

So, we just finished watching the CNBC special-“Swoosh! Inside Nike”-and it was good to see and hear people weigh in on the good products that Nike produces, as well as hear about some of their challenges, such as poor working conditions in Vietnam and the blow back from their half-hearted initial foray into the world of skateboarding.

A few things that we noticed is that for a company that was started by Bill Bowerman’s desire to make running shoes lighter, while offering good traction, for his track athletes, it was Phil Knight that had the vision to take some risks and go after German-based Adidas, that was top-dog in the early ‘70s.

From the beginning, the company focused on producing great performing products to then signing a young Michael Jordan from the University of North Carolina as a key endorser, to marketing Bo Jackson as a do-it-all athlete and Charles Barkley as a powerful basketball player that bucked the trend by saying that athletes were not role models; Nike seems to have always “Gone Hard” with it.

A point that a couple people brought throughout our conversation was the lack of coverage or mention of Nike’s charity work, the donations or the rebuilding of parks to allow kids to play and get exercise. Maybe, just maybe, that story is on the DVD that CNBC began hawking at the end of the special. Let’s hope so.

Hearing Michael Jordan say that he wore Converse while at UNC-Chapel Hill, but wanted to sign with Adidas was monumental and the person or persons that chose to “pass” on MJ are certainly still trying to get their foot out of their ass(es).

The hype for the Air Jordan XX3 has been in fever pitch, which, after watching “Swoosh! Inside Nike”, will not be the finale of the Air Jordan line of basketball sneakers. Why would Nike and Jordan Brand walk away from a line that has been so successful 5-years after MJ played his last NBA game? They’d be silly, to say the least.

Darren Rovell did a good job interviewing Phil Knight, even though we can’t get over the fact that Buck wears those damned sunglasses for every interview. Who does he think he is? Just because he’s worth $9 billion, does that negate the fact that we like looking a man in the eyes?

When Milo Rosario was interviewed, it felt good to see a sneaker connoisseur whom we know and is truly passionate about sneakers. He’s a true stand-up guy that we’ve had the opportunity to hang out with at a few events in Chicago, Seattle and Las Vegas.

Seeing the footage from the lines to purchase the titanium Air Jordan XX3s, the Dunk Exchanges and the hand-to-hand exchange of cash for sneakers is something that we’ve become accustomed to see, but at some level it still is amazing to see a pair of sneakers-made of leather, rubber, nylon, suede, etc. - being coveted by so many people.

So the piece was good, but we have a good inclination that the upcoming sneaker documentary from New York- Know You Got Sole- is going to give viewers an entirely different perspective that CNBC didn’t cover nor could they cover it well.


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