Friday, August 18, 2006

Cross Training

Looking to score more points with fans, and by creating fewer turnovers Stephon Marbury is sure to be an All-Start this season. However, those improvements will be seen mainly off the court and at your local spot for kicks. Steph has signed on with privately held Steve & Barry’s to push his own pair of kicks retailing at $15. This concept while admirable has been executed in the past without sustainable successful returns. If it resonates with shorties doing that all too critical and important school shopping will be closely monitored.

We’re in a day and age where BAPES for three hundred and jeans for five-hun are nothing to bat an eye at in high school or college, so why go for the cheap kicks? Shaq currently has had a shoe for the last few years and back in the 90’s C. Webb left Nike to do the same thing. While it gives parents something to cheer about, it hasn’t blown up as much as many would have thought or hoped.

Why? Possibly we need more athletes doing the same. If Kobe, LeBron and Melo all joined in, we might see a dent in market share of the major athletic lines. It’s in the marketing, but also who’s doing the marketing and the perception that’s going to decide how well it works. If that happened, the major Leagues might take offense since these same companies shell out millions of dollars to be the “Official” sponsors or Licensed Athletic apparel supplier. For now the act is admirable and the results have yet to be seen.

Round of applause for the NFL, the “Rooney Rule” which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate when there is a head coaching vacancy has produced an opening season with seven black head coaches-a new record. Richard Lapchick, author of numerous diversity studies and Director of the Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central reported that though the NFL has improved it’s efforts to recruit individuals from diverse backgrounds, the NFL and other pro sports with the exception of basketball continue to lag in hiring women. Wonder what Jimmy ‘The Greek’ Snyder would have to say on this.

I have a feeling that as the demographics of fans continue evolve we will see the front offices change with them, which in the long run will serve both leagues and fans. I find it odd however that major sporting organizations have been so late to the game, when many Fortune 500 companies such as American Express, Chemtura, and McDonald’s, among others have had phenomenal success within their respective leadership positions. The lessons though late and millions of dollars later have begun to seep into the reasoning of owners and their constituents. Being a professor of a Division I institution, I’m sure Lapchick would agree that the NCAA would be well served to also learn from this.

Coming up on the one year mark of the devestation of Hurrican Katrina, actor, director and philanthropists Spike Lee has a documentary airing on HBO beginning this month. "When the Levees Broke" will serve as a living testament for the things that media and journalists were not able to report on, but will focus on those affected being our guide and exclusive reporter. Lee, known for such films as
Malcolm X, She Hate Me & Inside Man will undoubtedly never be paralleled for the historic films he's been involved in.

We'll continue with the lessons later-


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