We all know about Nike and how they put out sneaker after sneaker after sneaker in the 80s and 90s, but they weren’t the only major players of the era. If you can recall, Reebok did its thing in the performance basketball arena, but of course, you don’t know that. Take a seat, class is in session.
Lesson One: Way back when, Reebok was among the mid-majors in athletic apparel, so to break through, they broke the mold. While stability and durability were paramount in the basketball sneaker-making business, Reebok chose a different lane, and decided to capitalize on the comfort factor. To do that, they not only implemented an impressive amount of cushioning, they decided to add an air element, because who wouldn’t want to feel like they’re walking on a cloud.
Lesson Two: Reebok started off with the Pump, went back to the drawing board and crafted the Reebok Pump Twilight Zone. To really build up a buzz, they decided to choose the true man of aerial flight, Dominique Wilkins. If Michael Jordan glided through the air, Wilkins was the equivalent of a jet. Explosive launch, and thunderous throwdown. You knew from takeoff that he was going to deliver never-before-seen dunks and aerial acrobatics. I mean, there’s a reason why he was called “The Human Highlight Film”.
Lesson Three: After Converse’s reign as the premier provider of performance basketball sneakers, Nike took over and held the throne unchallenged and uncontested. Reebok coming through in the clutch with the Pump Twilight Zone and pairing it with an athlete than matched the athletic prowess of Jordan in Dominique Wilkins, proved to solidify Reebok’s stance in the sneaker game.
With the introduction of the Reebok Pump Twilight Zone, the brand started to look pretty attractive to future superstars as they were able to lure players such as Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson, which ended up being very profitable for the company.
The Pump was the pioneer that set the stage and ultimately defined Reebok as a major brand. Just a lesson on how one thing can change everything. Class dismissed.