Nike (presumably) puts in a ton of time and effort to create “Elite” versions of their signature sneakers for their most elite NBA athletes to wear in the post season (and to sell you at a premium). This year only one of those athletes will be in the playoffs.

I make this point to ask, does it matter?  Certainly, there was a time when seeing the signature athlete playing in their sneaker made you want to buy them.  That may still be very much the case (for some) but let’s face it, sneakers sell themselves these days too.

With Kobe out injured from a Laker squad who wouldn’t have made it to the playoffs anyway and KD notably missing from the Thunder’s post season efforts, only LeBron will suit up in his Elite model.  Undoubtedly, Nike will compete this by lacing up a ton of role players throughout the league in Kobe and KD Elites but is that the same thing?  Will it move the needle?

What do you think?  Sound off in the comments, do you think this will effect sales of the Elite series?


Author’s Take: People are drawn to sneakers for any number of different reasons. For some it may be seeing their favorite player lace them up, for others it has more to do with what their favorite Instagram “sneaker celebrity” thinks of the model.

If the kick is deemed “cool” by social media and influencers other than the athletes, I am not sure it really matters how much time they get on court.

I could be way off though.  Maybe majority of young kids do still care what their favorite players are wearing and how much they are wearing it.  One thing is for sure, this Elite series needed all the help it could get.  It seems destined to sit on the back wall at a Nike outlet.

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