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PRAISE TO HAKEEM FOR GIVING YOUNGSTERS A SHOE ALTERNATIVE
Published February 16, 1995
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).