When It All Star-ted…
By krvanch - Feb 14, 2016
Tonight, in Toronto, the NBA will hold its 65th annual All Star Game. The first time it has been held outside of the United States, and probably long overdue.
The game itself has never been one for much defense as most everyone is gunning for the coveted All Star Game MVP. Historically, the teams have tried to get a player from the host city the most opportunities to win the award, but sometimes personal agendas get in the way and guys just start shooting.
Of all of our major sports, it is the NBA which sells and promotes it’s All Star Game the best. So much to the point that it is not just a day, but an extended weekend.
In 1984 the NBA decided to bolster the experience during the All Star break by creating a weekend out of it. On Saturday afternoon the NBA brought back the stars of the past in its Legends Game and reintroduced the Slam Dunk Contest at the site of the famed 1976 ABA Slam Dunk Contest, McNichols Arena.
Two years later, in Dallas, a Three Point contest was added to the weekend and later on a Rookie Game, Rookie/Sophomore Game, Rising Stars Challenge and Skills Competition.
The experience is a complete display of the talents of the players in the league. From shooting to passing to dribbling, the NBA is sure to promote it’s product and it’s players.
Shoe companies recognized the spectacle which was All Star Weekend and the hype which surrounded it.
In 1988, Nike took FULL advantage of All Star Weekend in Chicago. Jordan was the most exciting player in the league and was the defending champion in the Dunk Contest. What better place to introduce the new Jordan, the Air Jordan III, but the Dunk Contest.
In one of the better dunk-for-dunk contests ever (with questionable final round scoring) Jordan ended up creating one of the most iconic moments with his second free throw line dunk of the competition.
Nike was not done as they trotted out the second colorway of the III for MJ’s MVP performance the next day.
Now we have shoe and apparel companies with entire lines of new and retro product just for the game. Ancillary products are also capitalizing on what is really a marketer’s dream.
Nike and Adidas each have their lines and Under Armour has it’s release which we’ve reported here along with other releases too.
Each year we pine to see what the new All Star colorways are going to be for our favorite brands. And we have the NBA, Nike and Michael Jordan in 1988 to thank for it.