RAPPING WITH EVERLAST: To try to jazz up its image, Everlast sent models and rappers into a boxing ring last week.

Some 120 people piled into Mony’s 125th Street store in New York to check out the brand’s new urban sportswear. Plaid miniskirts with logo boxing-style waistbands, halter tops and denim pants were some of the trendier looks. The event’s second act was flagged as "The Holla in Harlem," with rappers facing off against each other to try to win $2,000 worth of Everlast products, among other things.

Everlast chief executive officer George Horowitz, a judge at the rap contest, said, "While the Everlast brand has a tradition in boxing, the brand has appeal to a broad audience. Our brand has a considerable inner-city cache and hipness and one of the most efficient ways of reaching this audience is through music and events like the The Holla in Harlem."

GETTING HIS KICKS: Bobbito Garcia, a Vibe magazine contributing editor and former consultant to Nike, Reebok and Converse, is turning his love of sneakers into a 267-page book entitled "Where’d You Get Those? New York Sneaker Culture 1960 to 1987" (Testify/Powerhouse Books).

Athlete endorsers, the roots of urban marketing, basketball playground legends and little-known stores are some of the subjects Garcia tackles. He also packs in 600 photos. Testify/Powerhouse Books plans to release the tome in September. Garcia has appeared in five Nike commercials.

BALANCING ACT: Nike All Conditions Gear will be chasing consumers through the woods through its new two-year partner sponsorship of the Balance Bar Adventure Race Series, a nine-city tour that typically draws 9,000 participants.

In addition to promoting the series through advertising, retail and the Internet, Nike ACG will outfit staff in footwear and apparel through 2004.

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