Skechers Explores Deal for Clippers Stake

Skechers USA Inc. believes a partnership with the Los Angeles Clippers could be a slam dunk.

The company said this morning it is considering leading an investment group to acquire an interest in the basketball team. The Clippers have dominated the headlines this week after owner Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life for making racist comments.

The controversial executive is now under pressure to sell team, and a variety of suitors, ranging from Oprah Winfrey to Magic Johnson, have reportedly expressed interest. Now, Skechers is getting in on the action.

“As one of the five largest athletic footwear companies in the United States and with roots deep in Southern California, we believe acquiring an interest in the Los Angeles Clippers is a natural fit,” CEO Robert Greenberg said in a statement. “With numerous accolades for [our] performance division, Skechers has become a serious player in the athletic performance footwear market globally. Like Skechers, the Clippers are a great Los Angeles brand with a loyal following and recognition that extends way beyond Southern California.”

Skechers, one of the most visible marketers in footwear, has dramatically upped its performance focus over the past few years with it’s GoRun product line. Just last week, endorser Meb Keflezighi won the Boston Marathon in a pair of the brand’s sneakers.

The firm also has had endorsement deals with athletes such as Joe Montana, Larry Bird and Wayne Gretzky, among others.

“We believe this presents us with a tremendous opportunity to leverage and cross promote both the Skechers and Clippers brands,” Greenberg said. “The Clippers play in the second-biggest media market in the country, and Skechers is an advertising-driven brand. … We hope that Skechers can be part of giving the Clippers organization and fans a fresh start.”

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