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HAKEEM BRINGS SNEAKERS TO THE MASSES
Published May 4, 1995
Hakeem Olajuwon's new deal with Spaulding is analyzed in the current issue of INSIDE SPORTS. Olajuwon could have signed a lucrative deal with high-profile companies Reebok and Nike, but "opted to help design a line" with Spaulding that would cost less than $50/pair. Spaulding is "not a big player in the realm of high priced hi-tops but the dominant maker in the mass market -- outlets such as Kmart and Target -- where America buys 38% of its athletic shoes." The Olajuwon line will be in stores this fall and be priced between $35-$45. But "rival shoe companies no doubt will snicker over" Olajuwon's venture. Nike PR Manager Tom Feuer: "I doubt very much that Olajuwon's shoes have a Nike kind of workmanship." But INSIDE SPORTS' Alex Hecht calls it "a wise business decision" for Olajuwon. He gets a "financially comparable" deal, when "there is no denying that his thick Nigerian accent has hindered his overall commercial viability." And because of the mass marketing, price "will be the driving force" (INSIDE SPORTS, 6/95).