A SHOE IN: NBA basketball legend, Hakeem Olajuwon, is making a comeback — by reviving his famed sneakers from the Eighties. The former Houston Rockets center and Olympic gold medalist will re-issue his 1984 shoe, the Akeem the Dream, with Etonic in June.
“It’s exciting to bring it back especially since retro shoes are getting more popular with young people these days,” he said.
Along with his famed sneakers, Olajuwon collaborated with Etonic’s marketing and product teams to develop an entire footwear, apparel, and accessory line called Brand Dream. The company tapped Pensole Footwear Design Academy’s D’Wayne Edwards, Jordan Brand’s footwear design director, to develop the inaugural shoe from the upcoming collection.
“I loved designing and working with the guru in the industry, D’Wayne,” he said. “It’s like a kid in a candy store with his own vision putting it all together.”
Olajuwon still trains NBA star athletes such as Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James who both have their own shoe collaborations with Nike. But during training, there is no talk of business, he said, or time for a newfound sneaker rivalry to emerge.
“They’re very focused — we don’t talk about any of that. I don’t think the shoe will have competition. There’s room for good quality brands and I feel like it’s bringing to the market to appeal to the young and the cool. This is bringing a cool shoe back today and educating the younger generation.”
The 51-year old said Etonic approached him a few months ago in a bid to bring new energy into the brand.
“You have Nike and Adidas, but Etonic is an alternative that gives an affordable shoe at a good value,” he said. “You have high-end, mid-range, and low. Majority of people can afford Etonic to have a quality shoe: and it’s cool, too.
Etonic’s lifestyle collection — along with three popular classic sneakers from the Seventies and Eighties: Dream Hall of Fame, Street Fighter, and Trans Am Trainer — will retail for $75-$120 and will be sold at specialty retailers including Foot Patrol UK, Ubiq, Atmos Japan & NY, Fred Segal Conveyor, and Barneys New York.