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Did Nike Fail to Capitalize on the Success of ‘The Last Dance’? – Highsnobiety



Michael Jordan’s game-worn Nike Air Jordan 1s from 1985 sold for half a million dollars at auction over the weekend — the most ever paid for a pair of sneakers. The amount underlines Michael Jordan’s status not just as the GOAT of basketball but also as one of the most marketable and admired people of all time, across all walks of life.

Over the past few weeks, Jordan has been the subject of ESPN and Netflix’s docs-series, The Last Dance — whose influence can’t be understated. The 10-part series introduced Michael Jordan the basketball player to a generation that never got to see him play. In turn, that has had a remarkable effect on the demand for Jordan and Chicago Bulls merchandise and memorabilia.

As StockX has shared with Highsnobiety, its data shows that The Last Dance has influenced consumer behavior in more ways than one. Since its premiere on April 19, The Last Dance has resulted in a spike in traffic on StockX’s Jordan products every Sunday. On average, there is 76 percent more traffic to Jordan catalog pages than a typical Sunday evening prior to April 19.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that pop culture has had an influence on consumer behavior like this. As Complex points out, Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA championship last year caused the now-Clippers star’s signature New Balance sneaker to soar in value on the resell market. A morbid example would be Kobe Bryant’s tragic death earlier this year and the ensuing spike in resell prices on his sneakers — something that was frowned upon by a vast majority of the community.

Diving deeper into the data, it becomes clear that it’s not only Michael Jordan’s signature sneakers and memorabilia that have benefited from The Last Dance. Scottie Pippen — who was heavily featured in the first two episodes — has seen sales of his sneakers and merchandise increase by 50 percent compared to the previous month. In the 24 hours after the episodes aired the effect was even greater, as sales of Pippen’s sneakers, collectibles, and merchandise increased 300 percent compared to a typical day.

The below chart outlines other consumer trends, such as Air Jordan sales being up 38 percent month-on-month and Chicago Bulls merchandise receiving 35 percent more bids than the month prior.


As Highsnobiety reported on earlier, the “Chicago” Nike Air Jordan 1 from 2015 jumped in value following the May 3 episode, which focused on that silhouette in particular. Before the series aired it was reselling for around $900. Over the past 10 days, the average sale price is over $1,400 — good for a 50 percent increase. Similarly, the “Banned” Nike Air Jordan 1 from 2016 has seen its average resale price increase by 33 percent.

Following the final two episodes, which aired on May 17 and heavily featured the Air Jordan 13 and 14, traffic to the catalog pages of both sneakers surged to their highest in StockX history. The “Flu Game” Nike Air Jordan 12 — another big subplot in the series — saw its average resell price rise to $400 immediately after the finale, a good 30 percent more than its 12-month average. The “Last Shot” AJ14 sold for 55 percent more than its 12-month average sale price of $225.

Another interesting development is that the OG 1985 “Chicago” Nike Air Jordan 1 sold three times over the past few weeks. Prior to the documentary airing, StockX had not seen a sale of that sneaker since 2017. Back then it resold for around $3,000, whereas the last three sales have had an average resale price of $7,123 — more than double.

In short, The Last Dance has basically been a 10-hour commercial for Nike and the Air Jordan line. To celebrate the premiere on April 19, Nike dropped its “Fire Red” Air Jordan 5s on its SNKRS app. The OG colorway had been long-rumored and hotly-anticipated before it promptly sold out on the platform.

Since then, though, Nike has not done anything to capitalize on The Last Dance. In the past, Nike has shown it has its finger on the pulse of pop culture by scheduling special-edition, limited drops around larger events. In 2018, the Justin Timberlake x Nike Air Jordan 3 was available on Nike SNKRS during the artist’s performance during the Super Bowl half-time show, while more recently, Travis Scott’s collaborations have dropped during his Grammy’s performances.

Of course, the coronavirus pandemic has complicated matters, as supply chains — almost all of which run through China — have been impacted in one way or another and resulted in several delays. Comparing the resell market with retail might not be entirely fair either, as StockX numbers have shown that the secondary market is as robust as ever and has barely been affected by Covid-19 — the same can’t be said for retail.

Netflix / Andrew D. Bernstein

Additionally, Highsnobiety’s latest market analysis shows that a new generation of “immune shoppers” has been born, who are less affected by trends and hype and are reassessing their priorities when it comes to spending their money on fashion.

Those factors may have played a role in Nike’s decision (conscious or not) to refrain from dropping more product in conjunction with The Last Dance. Still, it feels like Nike may have missed the mark over the past month, as all eyes were on the docuseries and, as a result, Nike and Jordan Brand product.

The StockX numbers show that there were consumers out there that were influenced by what they saw on their screens. It would not be farfetched to think that these same consumers spending their money on Michael Jordan memorabilia and sneakers or Scottie Pippen and Chicago Bulls gear would have bought related product directly from Nike.

“MJ’s success on the court transcended beyond the game of basketball and ignited a culture. That culture became the foundation of the Jordan Brand and the Jumpman community,” says Jordan Brand president, Craig Williams. “The Last Dance has given us a chance to highlight the people, stories and sneakers that made basketball culture a global phenomenon. Seeing fans across different generations celebrate MJ’s success speaks to the impact MJ and Jordan Brand continue to have on basketball culture and the breadth of the Jumpman community.”

The Last Dance speaks to both a new generation of basketball fans and a new generation of consumers. By introducing kids today to Jordan’s accomplishments, unparalleled athleticism, and competitive drive, The Last Dance is providing a generation that never got to see MJ play live with the same “Like Mike” feeling kids had in the late ’80s and throughout the ’90s.

In a way, by creating new Michael Jordan fans and providing access to his on-court dominance, it also strengthens peoples’ sentiments towards Jordan Brand and its products — something StockX’s numbers prove. Whereas over the years, Air Jordans have become synonymous with hype, limited-edition collaborations, and sold-out release dates, kids that watched The Last Dance now want Jordans for the same reason that kids 30 years ago wanted Jordans — because he’s the greatest basketball player of all time.

Perhaps Nike consciously chose to refrain from dropping products alongside the documentary, as it knew the effect The Last Dance would have on its viewers. Maybe Jordan Brand took a step back to let its most marketable asset ever do what he does best — make kids want to be like Mike.

Sportswear Editor

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‘He only gave us joy’: Argentinians pay tribute to Diego Maradona – Al Jazeera English



Buenos Aires, Argentina — Amid boisterous chants to send off a football legend who had departed too soon, Wilson Cisnero leaned against a brightly painted brick building that had a simple, small sign he had pasted on it. “God is with God,” he wrote, punctuated with the number 10.

The 25-year-old had cycled two kilometres (1.2 miles) to the famed Buenos Aires neighbourhood of La Boca because, like many others, he did not know where else to go to when he heard that Diego Maradona had passed away.

Crowds gathered outside La Bombonera, the home of Boca Juniors, one of Argentina’s most celebrated football clubs, that counted Maradona as its star once.

“Argentina is Maradona,” said Cisnero, his devastation clear through his glassy gaze. “You look at all this disgrace with coronavirus and now this other disgrace,” he lamented. “Now soccer is left without its God.”

Wilson Cisnero stands in front of a sign that says ‘God is with God’ in memory of Diego Maradona in Argentina [Natalie Alcoba/Al Jazeera]

That same pain was written all over the faces of Argentinians on Wednesday, as the nation came to grips with his unexpected death. To the world, he was Maradona. To Argentina, he was “El Diego” – a kid who sprouted from the slums, dazzled on the pitch like no other, dominated the sport and delivered World Cup glory that has yet to be repeated in Argentina.

Maradona suffered a cardiac arrest at his home, north of the capital of Buenos Aires, on Wednesday.  He had recently undergone brain surgery, pushing concerns over his health into the news. He was 60 years old.

“It’s something you can’t describe,” said Rafael Bellido, 49, sitting on the steps of La Bombonera, next to his partner Marcela Reynoso, as they shared mate, a traditional Argentine infusion. “El Diego was the person who represented us the best,” he said. “When he was playing, and you were watching, and you wanted to curse, he would curse. He reflected us. In addition to all the things that he did on the pitch.”

“Now is the time when Argentine society needs to give back all the joy that he gave to us,” he added. “And how long he made us happy. A long time. Every time he touched the pitch. You can’t describe it.”

Marcela Reynoso and Rafael Bellido mourn Diego Maradona in Argentina [Natalie Alcoba/Al Jazeera]

As tributes rolled in from around the world, President Alberto Fernandez declared three days of national mourning, cancelling all his engagements as the government prepared to host a wake at the presidential palace. The government is expecting a million people to pay their final respects. Government buildings will be lit up in the colours of the Argentinian flag in his honour.

In a statement, Fernandez said it was Argentinians’ good fortune to have been able to live through the era of Maradona, to have seen his greatness and enjoyed his affection.

“I doubt that we will ever see another player like Maradona in every way, not only because of his technical qualities, but also because of that courage, that strength, that grit, which he showed every time he put on the jersey he had to defend. An exceptional player who only gave us joy,” he said.

“Maradona was a genuine man, he defended what he believed in,” the president added. “He is a good example of what ordinary Argentines are, so visceral. Above all that, I always stressed that he was never a fraud – he said what he didn’t like.”

By mid-afternoon, hundreds of people had gathered at the foot of the Buenos Aires obelisk, singing Maradona’s praises as a giant banner displaying his face rippled in the wind. Outside La Bombonera, the crowds burst into intermittent song and dance.

“Diego isn’t dead, Diego isn’t dead, Diego lives in the village,” the crowd would chant. Everyone had their own story, their own reason for being there and what he meant to them. His incredible highs and the lows that he also lived through, were theirs, too.

“There will always be critics,” said Reynoso. “The important thing is that he found his own happiness.”

Diego Covelo marks a sign in memory of Diego Maradona in Argentina [Natalie Alcoba/Al Jazeera]

Diego Covelo, who counts himself as a member of the Maradoniana Church, founded by fans in 1988, pasted a poster of Maradona in his Boca Juniors jersey on the stadium’s exterior. He and a few friends had been holding vigil outside the clinic during the football legend’s recent admission to hospital.

“If we were there during the good times, of course we’ve got to be there during the bad times,” said Covelo, 35.

Josue Mustafa, 24, saw children playing football on his way to La Boca and thought to himself: “”That is Maradona’s legacy.

That’s going to stay with everyone – in the young ones, and in people who are older.”

Blanca Salursi, standing under a giant mural of El Diego in La Boca, remembered seeing him play as a youngster in one of Buenos Aires’ shanty towns

“I also came from the slums, you come up from the bottom,” said the 60-year-old. And with a twinkle in her teary eyes as she turned to leave, she said: “Don’t ever forget that he was the best there was.”

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Alex Ovechkin mourns the passing of legendary soccer player Diego Maradona – Russian Machine Never Breaks



Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin mourned the death of Diego Maradona on his Instagram Story, Wednesday. The Argentinan soccer legend passed away suddenly after suffering a heart attack at his home, according to the BBC.

Maradona was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma, bleeding in the skull, in early November and had surgery to relieve the pressure. His doctors said he had no complications from the operation and was recovering well, according to the AP. He was initially hospitalized for dehydration, anemia, and depression.

Maradona is widely considered one of the greatest footballers of all time. The legend was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award along with Pele.

Ovechkin posted a photo of Maradona with the text “RIP.”

Maradona was the captain of Argentina’s 1986 men’s soccer team that won the World Cup. During the quarterfinal against England, the legend tallied one of the most famous soccer goals of all time. Entitled the “Hand of God goal,” Maradona touched the ball with his hand and scored. Referees should have given Maradona a yellow card, but they did not detect it and allowed the goal to stand.

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Maradona said after the game, according to Wikipedia, that the goal was scored “a little with his head, and a little with the hand of God”. The Argentines beat England 2-1 and went on to win the entire tournament. He would later be given the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.

Ovechkin is a well-documented soccer fan. The Great 8 was an ambassador for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

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During the run up to the tournament, Ovi got to meet Pele. He also attended games and took a photo in front of the World Cup Trophy.

While in Washington, Ovechkin has met some of the greatest current soccer players on the planet including Lionel Messi, Neymar, Andriy Shevchenko, Gerard Pique, and Wayne Rooney.

Ovechkin has attended several Dynamo Moscow soccer games during the offseason as well.

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Report: Ravens Discipline Strength and Conditioning Coach for COVID-19 Conduct – Sports Illustrated



The Baltimore Ravens announced on Wednesday night that they disciplined “a staff member for conduct surrounding the recent COVID-19 cases that have affected players and staff at the Ravens.”

Sources later told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero that the Ravens disciplined a strength and conditioning coach “for not reporting symptoms and not consistently wearing a mask or tracking device.”

This comes hours after the NFL announced the Ravens-Steelers matchup that was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night has been postponed until Sunday afternoon

ESPN’s Adam Schefter originally reported that the Ravens had five players and four staffers test positive for COVID-19 this week. 

But by Wednesday evening, seven Ravens were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list with positive tests or close contacts following tracing, including running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins, defensive linemen Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee and offensive linemen Matt Skura and Patrick Mekari.

Multiple Steelers players expressed their frustration on Twitter. 

The Ravens have lost three of their four previous games and were scheduled to travel to Pittsburgh on Wednesday before Thursday’s matchup. The Steelers enter the AFC North divisional matchup undefeated. 

While the Ravens were proactive with their internal discipline, they could still face penalties from the league.

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