August 24, 2015 BY Patrick Johnson
Jordan Brand has expanded its reach onto all different kinds of playing fields, from the lifestyle realm to recent running and training expansions. But is the brand most notoriously linked to basketball given well, Michael Jordan, putting a halt on signature models?
Russell Westbrook is one of the most explosive players in the game today and even he can’t get a signature with the brand – instead he champions the likes of the flagship Air Jordan XX9 on the court. Jordan has capitalized on Westbrook’s affiliation to fashion by giving him a lifestyle-inclined silhouette in the Jordan Westbrook 0 mirroring what Nike Basketball does with its NSW department, but other up and coming stars with the brand haven’t been as lucky. Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, and LeMarcus Aldridge are all supreme talents with appeal (although Kawhi and LeMarcus suffer from playing in a secondary market like San Antonio). Even Blake Griffin’s Jordan Super.Fly 4 has no name recognition despite Blake being one of the NBA’s most marketable talents.
This all points to one problem: modern performance basketball models created by Jordan Brand simply don’t sell. Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul’s recent signatures have failed to capture a basketball audience with stiff competition from parent company Nike, and neither shoe managed to be a truly worthy selection off the court. Jordan isn’t confident that it can continue to sell performance basketball shoes affiliated with anyone other than Michael Jordan. With the retro market as strong as it’s ever been and the growth in casual training and running departments in the U.S. interest in recent years, there’s profits to be made elsewhere. It does beg the question what the brand has planned for exciting prospects like Jabari Parker. Will he just be ushered in to wearing the latest numbered Jordan? Probably.
There is hope on the horizon though, as the flagship Jordan model has seen a resurgence in recent years highlighted by the head-turning shroud of the Air Jordan XX8 and the Tinker-approved Flyweave of the Air Jordan XX9. Innovation is as key as it ever was at Nike, but it’s an unknown whether the brand will put the same thought process into its signature athlete’s respective lines as it does for the main model. For now Jordan athletes are still living in Mike’s shadow, and that will undoubtedly be the modus operandi as long as a Jumpman logo is still stitched on the sneaker.
Jordan Westbrook 0
Color: University Red/White
Style Code: 768934-601