Reebok unveils the next iteration of its “Courting Greatness” initiative by celebrating the iconic careers of Reebok partners Allen Iverson and Shaquille O’Neal and officially announcing the upcoming Question Mid “Class of ‘16.”
To showcase the creative potential of the “Courting Greatness” digital tool, which empowers players to create playable basketball spaces where they may not exist, Reebok partnered with Philadelphia-born visual artist Gianni Lee and Los Angeles-based artist Rick Dove to construct custom, playable court installations in their home cities. Philadelphia and Los Angeles were selected for the installations, as they were home to Iverson and O’Neal respectively during their greatest achievements as professional players.
The lack of court space throughout inner cities has motivated young players to find alternative ways to hoop and inspired Reebok to reimagine the game. Using existing camera and measurement features in mobile phones, the “Courting Greatness” digital tool enables users to map out the dimensions of a court, be it a free throw line, 10-foot hoop, three-point line or key. Both artists used upcycled materials to construct their custom courts, showcasing the digital tool’s DIY functionality.
“AI and Shaq are two of the most influential icons the game has ever seen both on and off the court, and there’s no better way to commemorate their individual journeys than to empower the next generation of players, helping provide tools to play anywhere.” said Nicole Adriance, director of brand activation and integrated media for Reebok. “We hope our collaborations with Gianni and Rick will also inspire ballers to showcase their own style and create their own court, because as we know, basketball and style go hand in hand.”
Born in West Philadelphia, Lee was inspired by the street courts that can be found across that specific part of the city, full of young players honing their skills with no particular point system, just playing the game of basketball. He used the same materials that would have been available to him as a kid, keeping it simple with wood and house paint. Colors for the installation match the colorways for the Question Mid Class of ‘16 as well as the Philadelphia team colors, both of which pay homage to Iverson’s historic time spent in the city.
On Iverson’s impact, Lee says “I remember Iverson being a rising star at the time, and a lot of my friends had Iversons, so to be celebrating his induction into the Hall of Fame seems like a sort of homecoming. He has in some way impacted the lives of everyone in the city directly or indirectly. Iverson made me want to go get it. No fuss, no excuses. Just go get it.” Lee’s “Courting Greatness” installation can be found at 2300 Frankford Ave in Philadelphia.
For the Los Angeles installation, Dove took cues from the junkyard-style courts where a young O’Neal would hoop before becoming one of the greatest centers of all time. Using materials like cement, plywood, rebar, and metal fencing, Dove wanted to reflect Shaq’s dominance and literal impact on the game of basketball with a cement backboard featuring everlasting cracks. The shattered effect symbolizes the many backboards and teams O’Neal destroyed during his time in the city.
On what Shaq means to him, Dove says, “Shaq had to create opportunities for himself and his family and showed unparalleled dominance in what he did. Growing up in South Central, you are raised to understand that nothing is given to you. I had to make something out of nothing and create those moments and resources for myself the same way Shaq did.” Dove’s “Courting Greatness” installation can be seen at 7753 Melrose in Los Angeles.
Both the East Coast and West Coast installations will be open starting today until November 12. Consumers can access the Courting Greatness augmented reality tool by visiting http://courtinggreatness.com/ to create their own court. Images of the Philadelphia installation, photographed by Kahleel Frazier, can be found HERE, and images of the L.A. installation, photographed by Amber Aisha, can be found HERE.
This particular chapter of “Courting Greatness” pays homage to the hall’s 2016 class of inductees championed by Iverson, celebrating their five-year anniversary this fall. The new Question Mid “Class of ‘16” blends colors representative of each of the five professional teams A.I. played for, beneath a clean execution of his signature shoe, Question Mid.
The Question Mid “Class of ‘16” will be available globally in adult and kids unisex sizing from Foot Locker, Finish Line, Champs Sports and Reebok.com, among other select retailers, in late November.
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