A few weeks ago, I wrote a post stating that Nike was going to have to significantly increase their offer towards Duke’s highly-touted Freshman Zion Williamson in the wake of the shoe-splitting debacle.
As I explained, the other sneaker companies were certainly going to use that incident as leverage when making their own pitches to land the surefire number one pick in the upcoming NBA draft.
I must admit, however, that I was looking to Adidas, Under Armor, or even Puma to pounce since they are the main competition for Nike when it comes to sponsoring top NBA athletes.
So I was caught by surprise when it was Sketchers, a company who does not endorse any college basketball teams or NBA athletes, who ran an ad this weekend in both the New York Times as well as online to take Nike head on. Take a look at the ad below:
My first reaction to seeing this ad was to double check whether Sketchers makes basketball sneakers. Once I confirmed they do not, I liked the ad even more. Next level petty, indeed. Things made a little more sense once I found that the two sneaker companies have a history dating back to a 2016 infringement allegation lawsuit.
While this ad may seem petty given Sketchers lack of a basketball sneaker, it likely foreshadows some intense negotiations once Zion declares for the draft this summer.
As I mentioned in my original post, I still expect Nike to win out in the bidding for the most sought-after prospect since LeBron. But ads like this from Sketchers will at least give the competition the satisfaction of making Nike reach much further into their pockets than they would have without the shoe-splitting gaffe.
Lace up for an entertaining summer, basketball fans.