There is one Rockets uniform that reminds me of one player. The uniform that had to Rocket Ship is so connected to Franchise that it’s hard for me to seperate Steve Francis and The Rockets from that moment in time. The honest truth is Barkley played in the uniform as well, but I just remember Franchise ‘double clutch’ reverse dunking in that uniform after getting a pass from Cuttino Mobley. adidas takes a moment to look at the past to inspire the future for their signature MVP candidate James Harden. Two colorways are dropping and I’m sure it’s intentional although the connection isn’t made in description:
STEP BACKPast meets present. adidas and James Harden step back to the late 90s with a remix to one of Houston’s most iconic uniforms. Harden Vol. 2 Step Back reimagines the Rockets’ throwback with a navy blue upper, cyan FORGEFIBER threads and shock red highlights throughout.LIFT OFFAll engines running. adidas introduces Harden Vol. 2 Lift Off just in time for the playoffs. Lift Off features a black upper with red and silver accents, embracing Harden’s ultimate mission to land a championship in Houston.
The Step Back is a connection to lighter details of the Houston Rockets ‘Rocket’ themed throwback uniform. Those lighter details offer a nice contrast but it is likely that the ‘Rocket’ uniform will never be seen again as it was a part of a different sponsorship. The second colorway for adidas dropping is the Lift Off. The Lift Off colorways has an inherent connection to that jersey as the reference is to a rocket. adidas makes the connection via the preparation for the playoffs, but since the jersey won’t be reproduced it’s an opportunity for adidas to make a complimentary marketing push with a theme for Harden’s MVP candidacy and the move towards the playoffs.
The Lift Off is a more subtle shoe that matches the colorway of Houston’s current Swingman jersey design. The Harden isn’t showing up in a lot of places. The shoe is a performance beast, but doesn’t translate to casual wear as it is a bit heavy and the options for lifestyle are plenty. The limited distribution makes sense. This doesn’t mean that it’s a waste for adidas to pump money into a Harden campaign. While marketing is quantifiable in how much is sold, people are connected to heros and celebrity. A person may not buy a pair of Harden Volume 2, but the fact that Harden endorses the brand makes adidas more relevant leading to the purchase of shoes that aren’t in the 140 dollar price range.
There is definitely a missed opportunity here for marketing in making a serious push for Harden as the MVP. The brand cache in having the best player in the NBA is valuable to the brand overall.