Though its nominal centerpieces are an exhibition basketball game and a past-its-prime dunk contest, NBA All-Star Weekend has taken on a position of supreme reverence, and not just within its sport. Nestled directly between the Super Bowl and March Madness, ASW has become a necessary focus for brands who are in the business of jockeying for attention. This was magnified even more than usual this year when seemingly the entire world descended on New York City.
Despite single-degree temperatures, everywhere you looked everyone was doing their best to make their presences felt. The Jordan Brand had outposts all over the five boroughs, Under Armour and Stephen Curry unveiled their new signature sneaker, Zach LaVine jumped out of the building, and Drake dropped a pretty solid mixtape/album. Factor in New York Fashion Week and Valentine’s Day, and everyone’s head was on a swivel.
Amid all that, nobody took a bigger bite out of the Big Apple than Kanye West.
Never one to blend into the background, Kanye, who turned 38 years old today, pulled out every stop to debut his adidas signature sneaker, the Yeezy Boost. He performed a free Flatiron concert, staged a much-ballyhooed fashion show for his new adidas clothing line, surprised two SoHo customers by hand-delivering their sneakers–wearing a rarely seen smile, no less–and appeared out of nowhere to present a pair to Drake on stage. For his part, Drake shrewdly parked the Yeezys on top of a speaker; those Jordan checks don’t send themselves.
The buzz from that frenzied week gradually died out, but it was still a successful endeavor for Kanye, who emerged as the obvious face of a major brand, albeit one which had seen better days. It seemed a mutually beneficial relationship: adidas turned to West for a shot in the arm in a sportswear marketplace dominated by Nike, while he hoped to use them to help him realize his utilitarian and utopian approach to high fashion.
“We’re constantly growing, we’re constantly building,” West told style.com in a February interview. “I mean, this is the beginning of something truly democratic. You know, I am here to take the best talents from fashion and give them to the people.”
How successful he will be is anyone’s guess, but there’s no question he has grand ambitions. In honor of Yeezy’s 38th birthday today, here are 5 Predictions for Where Kanye West Will Take adidas in the Future.
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