SBD/16/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

PRAISE TO HAKEEM FOR GIVING YOUNGSTERS A SHOE ALTERNATIVE

     This week's "Scorecard" in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED applauds
Hakeem Olajuwon's new sneaker deal.  Olajuwon will endorse a new
line of Spaldings that cost no more than $60 a pair.  "Scorecard"
calls the deal "a significant break from the established practice
of superstar athletes," because of Olajuwon's decision not to
sign with Nike, Reebok "or any of the other 'top end'
manufacturers."  The shoes will be available at discount stores,
where almost half of the 400M sales of athletic shoes take place.
Olajuwon says he signed the deal "because he's alarmed at the
values he sometimes sees youngsters espouse."  Olajuwon:  "A lot
of kids just go with the name brand.  They bother their parents
for $150 shoes" (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 2/20 issue).  USA TODAY's
Michael Hiestand notes Olajuwon's Spalding deal and gives a
"Thumbs Down" to "the idea that it's mandatory for superstars to
drain kids' wallets" (USA TODAY, 2/16).
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