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Cavs Court SPO, StockX and Reviving the LeBron Signature Line

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Thirteen years after Michael Jordan’s retirement, his sneaker brand still dominates the secondhand market. To try to boost sales of LeBron James’s shoes, Nike is using a reseller. (photo from StockX)

Source: With LeBron 14 Release, Nike Is Bypassing the Shoe Store – The New York Times

This article from the New York Times explains the release process for the LeBron 14. The position it takes that this is unlike any other Nike release is the most important aspect of the discussion. Nike has decided to move directly to a third party platform for the release of this customer package for the Retro Zoom Generation. Only 23 packs have been produced, so on the larger scale, this drop is meaningless. On a small scale the drop hopes to inspire interests from the sneakerhead community which Nike hopes will translate to interest in the LeBron 14 and the Zoom Generation Retro overall. (Pic above is of the 14, pic below is of the SPO and the Zoom Generation Retro) Unfortunately, the bidding isn’t really moving the needle which is a commentary on the market overall.  More important, I want to look at how the bidding is set up and how this bidding could be a foreshadow of things to come for StockX.

Here is the link for the auction:

You would expect the bids here to have doubled since introduction, but they haven’t. Only 2 of the 23 have doubled. Today is 1/16/2017 so with three days left this could change drastically, but I see the max bid amount at 8,000 for a serious collector’s item which includes the floor of the Cavs championship and a ring similar to members of the franchise. Why isn’t the shoe going up quicker? LeBron is not the type of draw that appeals to the current trend. While he is an extraordinary businessman and player, he has made moves that have soured his public persona and this in turn hurts his overall ability to deliver on a gigantic contract with Nike as a pitchman of footwear. LeBron is not Jordan when it comes to kicks and his size forces Nike to create shoes that regular people won’t wear. LeBron’s major issue is that like Shaq or Tim Duncan, or Ewing, big guys don’t typically sell shoes. LeBron of course is different because with him, like Shaq, his athleticism is amazing so he had the chance to be as great as Jordan, but never participating in a slam dunk contest I can say without a doubt has hurt his legacy. Even Kobe can draw on his Slam Dunk Trophy, although he was with Adidas when he won and is now Nike…

LeBron is by far the best selling signature athlete, but this is due to the abundance of shoes that are created for him. He not only gets an initial signature release, but his shoe is also converted into a low top, and then into a PostSeason and then into a takedown model with the Soldier and then international with the Ambassador. This is a bit off topic but fits the discussion. Let’s get back to why this release signals a shift for StockX.

the auction page for the Cavs Pack on StockX

I’ve sold a couple of pair on the platform and I think it is a very good delivery system, although it is flawed. The one flaw I’ve addressed is the lack of a minimum bid option. The other flaw has to do with the decision to launch it primarily as a high end resale site. Here is an article for my thoughts on the platform:

Insider Ties-Ep. 22: Selling Kicks on StockX Follow-Up 

With this StockX and Nike collab on the LeBron Zoom Generation they have implemented a minimum bid. In the original system someone can come in and disrupt a stock option by bidding at 60 bucks on a 400 dollar shoe. This literally wipes out any potential bids as people see the shoe as worthless potentially and will only bid slightly more than the previous bid. I think this inclusion of the minimum bid was placed by Nike, but I hope it transitions into a new feature.  Will this initial public offering create interest in the retro release of the Zoom Generation and the 14? I don’t think so, but this may be a case of Nike moving very slowly towards the release of the 14 because of the last 3 years. I will write an opinion on the Zoom Generation soon. Check out the NY Times article by clicking the source link.