Let’s start off by stating the obvious – everyone associated with this site are big soccer and sneaker heads. So whatever I happen to say during the rest of this story, go ahead and keep those two little facts in mind. As there may be some bias in my rationale. With that said, should there be a professional soccer player on the Brand Jordan roster?
This question has been posed around here before. It’s come up in conversations. I can remember ISPS and I having this conversation on more than one occasion. After seeing all the hype around the NBA All Star weekend, it got me thinking about this particular issue again. Should there be a professional soccer player on Brand Jordan?
Michael Jordan is probably the athlete that has transcended sport like no other. Yes, guys like Pele are as big as they get and are global megastars. But Jordan is the one guy, the one athlete that has created a brand, and whose brand is applicable to sport and culture at large. Jordan products are equally at home on the court or field of competition and in the streets. And the association that people have with Jordan brings an almost instant credibility.
Now I know you may be thinking that Jordan is all basketball. And there is a lot of truth to that. From a performance perspective, Jordan and his brand are no doubt rooted in basketball. But, in recent years, Brand Jordan has broadened their once basketball only horizons and have been picking up athletes from other sports. These include but are not limited to the following athletes and sports:
- Derek Jeter, Mike Trout and CC Sabathia (baseball)
- Michael Crabtree, Dez Bryant and Earl Thomas (American football)
- April Holmes (track)
- Roy Jones Jr. and Andre Ward (boxing)
- Denny Hamlin (NASCAR)
- Keegan Bradley (golf)
As you can see, the roster includes folks well outside of basketball. And truth be told, basketball and soccer fit pretty well together. At least I think so.
Just look at what Kobe Bryant and Nike did when they released the Kobe IV that was a low top silhouette. This Kobe, and many since, have taken their low top silhouette from that of a soccer boot. So there is, in fact, inspiration that is shared between both sports in terms of design and functionality.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has gone so far as to say that he would like to see a mid season style “soccer” tournament to take place in the NBA. From ProBasketballTalk:
“I and others at the league office have spent a lot of time studying the Champions League for European soccer and other types of cups and mid-season tournaments,” Silver said in the interview. “Now there there’s a long tradition, but maybe there’s the opportunity to create a new tradition. And to create more competitions. Right now everything is about the Larry O’Brien trophy but soccer operates a little differently, they have different cups, which may not be as important as the championship but in their own right are highly significant.
“Those are not the kinds of changes that are going to happen in a year, or maybe even in two or three years, but they are the kinds of development for the league that needs to be studied over time.”
The NBA is seeing many more athletes from different countries in the league. And many of them have shown a love for the beautiful game. And soccer players are regularly seen at basketball games. Just ask David Beckham and Thierry Henry. Timmy Howard has been spotted at basketball games too. Lots of soccer players have been.
Steve Nash is a huge soccer guy. So much so that he is a minority owner in the Vancouver Whitecaps. Lebron has a piece of Liverpool FC. There has been talk of Kobe joining a group to buy an Italian team. European soccer clubs are trying to get a piece of the American market while NBA teams are trying to get a piece of the European market.
Soccer + basketball do in fact, compliment each other quite well.
So why not have a soccer player on the Brand Jordan roster? I think it makes sense. I do however, think it would have to be just the right athlete. This athlete would need to personify a couple of things. They would need to be a certain type of player. As much as I typically don’t like this word, they would need to have “swag”. A certain sense of who they are and their own style. Neymar maybe? I know he’s already a Nike guy. But that type of dude would be bananas as the first Brand Jordan soccer player. Then again, maybe the flagship soccer player on Brand Jordan should be an American player. I have a specific player in mind, but he’s attached to a different brand. So I think he’s out. Maybe you go with Sydney Leroux. She’s got style and game to spare. She would be rad.
Sydney showed off some J’s recently on her Instagram.
Anyway, let’s talk product.
Imagine these, not as Tiempos, but reimagined as soccer boots. These even got classic leather uppers. Yup.
Check out these golf shoes that Keegan Bradley wore. Elephant print with a gold Jumpman? Fire.
Put some elephant print and a Jumpman logo on a pair of boots and count me the f*&k in. I would definitely be down to try that out.
Remember these? Switch out the safari print for the elephant print. Giddyup!
Many people (us included) are doing all kinds of things to help showcase the sport in a different light. To help try and make it a l little bit more “cool” I suppose. To help present the sport through a different lens than maybe it has been presented over the years.
Michael Jordan and Brand Jordan on the other hand, have always embodied cool. While being known as the best on the court, Jordan’s have also been the pinnacle sneaker in the lifestyle world as well.
Soccer certainly seems to be in it’s ascendency in the US right now. It’s more popular (especially with younger people – kind of like Jordan’s) than it has ever been. It seems like a perfect time to bring something like this to market.
There are already sneakers (see the above Tiempos) that could be included as part of the Jordan Soccer (Futbol?) collection. Get some boots designed based on heritage Jordan elements and Nike know how. Nike already designs some of the best boots on the market, so just collaborate with Nike Soccer on the boots. Or bring a Nike Soccer boot designer over to Brand Jordan for a bit. Merchandise the collection around a fresh windbreaker style training jacket, a couple of t-shirts, a hoodie or two and you are well on your way.
So I leave you with this:
Should There Be A Brand Jordan Soccer Athlete
Oh, and Brand Jordan – I’m here if you want to chat. Just sayin’…