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With Champions Think 16 Collection, Nike Has Taken a Card From adidas’ 2017 Playbook | Marketing

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The picture above celebrates Rasheed Wallace and the Pistons championship. Out to deliver the Pistons their first title since 1990, Rasheed took matters into his own hands during a physical Game 4 of the 2004 Finals at the Palace. After catching a cheap elbow mid-way through the third quarter, he responded by converting his passion and anger into pure dominance.


The rise of adidas over the last two years coincided with a marketing plan that was heavily influenced by artists and utilizing creativity and imagery to connect with fans of the brands. I was about to sit down and link a few articles here, and then I realized how many articles I wrote about adidas and how few articles I’ve written about adidas this year.

Browse the subject adidas + art on ARCH:

One Reason adidas is Reaching the Next Gen | connecting with Chicago Artists and Creators

This year my research has placed Nike in the seat that adidas occupied last year. Nike has developed a number of campaigns focused on aligning art, sport and sportswear. The latest campaign that takes on the mantle of elevating sport and art is the 16 Champions project.

While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, artistry is in the legacy of a champion. Like all great artists, all great players relentlessly push themselves towards the creation of their defining masterpiece, one that will forever etch their name into the annals of history. As part of the Champions Think 16 collection, Nike Basketball, Nike Sportswear, Jordan Brand and Converse present: Art of a Champion, a collection of sixteen individual artist interpretations that celebrate sixteen timeless performances by sixteen of the game’s greatest champions. Stay tuned to SNKRS for launch info regarding each sneaker featured in the collection.

Nike gives sneaker culture one of the dopest collection of sneaker based artwork I’ve seen. I want to share all of the pictures here, but you should click through and read each story behind the pictures. One of the stories captured features an unlikely narrative with a shoe that I haven’t seen since the 80s, the Fastbreak Hi worn by Kevin McHale. McHale was integral part of the Celtics 80s championships but is often overlooked in sneaker lore.

What is so amazing about this project is that it reminds me that Nike owns Converse and they have yet to really capitalize on the heritage there. There has been the Air Jordan x Converse Pack, but if Nike could work out the terms there could literally be a Dr. J., Magic Johnson and Larry Bird championship pack put together for the upcoming NBA Finals. I haven’t really spent much time on the artwork presented or the artists, but Nike is keeping the information close to the vest as they will utilize their digital platforms to launch information about the drops. This could easily be a traveling exhibit and be expanded to feature more artists.

It’s a dope concept with incredible potential.