Iverson slams Nike for using his identity without permission


iverson-sixers-backDespite being retired from the NBA, Allen Iverson stood strong against Nike releasing their new shoe, which, according to Iverson, looked very similar to the shoes he wore from Reebook back in the day.

Iverson questioned whether Nike could use his old number and team colors while he’s endorsed by rival Reebok.

He said Nike used his identity, likeness and persona without permission for a sneaker out of the company’s Zoom Flight ’96 collection, AP reported.

The mentioned sneaker has the No. 3 — Iverson’s number — on each back heel and the red, white and blue colors of the Philadelphia 76ers. Neither Iverson nor the Sixers are named on the sneaker or on the branding for the shoe, which were expected to be released later this year or in early 2015.

Iverson’s lawyer sent a letter to Nike this week objecting to the shoe. Following the objection, Nike has made a decision not to move forward with the shoe.

“Nike has made a business decision to not move forward with the shoe in the red/blue and white/purple colorways,” Wilkins said in an email. “However, two colorways inspired by the original 1996 colorways will still be available for purchase.”

Iverson has had a shoe contract with Reebok since Philadelphia made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft. Iverson’s signature shoe, “The Answer,” was Reebok’s flagship sneaker and runaway top seller during his prime seasons in the late 1990s, early 2000s. And Reebok is getting ready to release a new Iverson version of its iconic “Pump” sneaker.

Iverson’s attorney sent a letter to Nike, demanding the company to remove the sneaker from any retail inventories or website advertisements and cease any future sales of the product.

“Nike is clearly trying to use Allen Iverson’s celebrity status and persona to promote Nike’s shoes. There’s no other No. 3 that played for the 76ers that came out of the 1996 draft. For Nike to use his status to sell shoes, and not get his permission, to not compensate him, is bad business,” Iverson’s representatives said.

Iverson’s attorney Derek Challenger said after learning Nike was pulling the shoe that Iverson should be compensated for shoes that have already been sold and would still object if the No. 3 is on the heel of the sneaker.

Even in retirement, Iverson still has worldwide appeal to sneakerheads. The Nike tribute sneaks can be found on eBay — under a search for Iverson.

Lucas Ehrbar, editor of the website Nikeblog.com, said the Iverson-like sneaker released under the Nike Sportswear banner was already released in Asia. Ehrbar said Reebok’s brand has fallen among basketball sneaker junkies, leaving a gap for the dominant brand to model sneakers for the 2001 NBA MVP.

“A lot of people would rather wear Nike anyway,” Ehrbar said. “The only reason they’re wearing Reebok is because someone like Iverson has a shoe with them.”

Iverson, spent 14 seasons in the NBA, playing in 914 NBA games (901 started), and holds career average of 26.7 points per game, and 6.2 assists per game, with 41.1 minutes per game.

He scored a total of 24,368 career points. He was the winner of both the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year honors. He is an 11-time All-Star, and 4-time NBA scoring champion.

Iverson took his team all the way to the NBA Finals in 2001 but lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. Despite never winning a championship, Iverson was rated the fifth greatest NBA shooting guard of all time by ESPN in 2008.



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