Foot Locker, Kawhi Leonard Aim To Boost Air Jordan

Just in time for the holidays, Foot Locker is teaming up with the normally even-keeled Kawhi Leonard, treating the NBA star to a day even Ferris Bueller might find unusual.

The San Antonio Spurs superstar gets a pair of new Air Jordan I High Gatorade sneakers (in an orange “flavorway”), as a present from teammate LaMarcus Aldridge. It inspires him to sets off to find the real Kawhi, which involves a little karate, an art auction, driving a low-rider, and a recording studio session with rapper Nipsey Hussle, posting on social media during the whole adventure. Called "Bold Like Kawhi," the spot is from BBDO and highlights an assortment of the Air Jordan Gatorade Collection. (Besides Kawhi’s Orange, they also come in Lemon Lime, Grape and Cool Blue, and launch Dec. 26.) 



The spot is scheduled to break Christmas Day, running on ESPN during the NBA Christmas Day games.

The launch comes at a critical time for Brand Jordan, recently bumped out of the No. 2 spot by rival Adidas. In part, that’s due to an overall decline in the sales of basketball shoes. In its most recent quarterly results, Nike’s basketball shoe sales dropped in the middle single digits, while Brand Jordan gave up about a third of its sales, as reported by the NPD Group. 

But experts say part of it is also due to shoe launch overkill, with many failing to sell out. In a conference call for investors back in September, Nike said it was paying close attention. Pointing out that Jordan is growing fast in China, up 30%, “we're certainly going to continue to manage the cadence of launches while bringing some fresher stories into the marketplace,” Trevor Edwards, president of the Nike brand, said. “We're going to really be managing the balance between scarcity and scale at the same time. So we're taking all the right steps to make sure that Jordan remains a special and coveted brand.”

Last month, Foot Locker and Nike announced that Foot Locker would hire sales associates specially trained in Nike products, in an attempt to elevate customer experience.

Nike is scheduled to release its next quarterly results Dec. 21.

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