Three of the 2016 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductees announced today have more in common than just having stellar careers on the court. Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson and Yao Ming were also all Reebok-sponsored athletes.
O’Neal, the baller with some of the best nicknames in league history (“Shaq Diesel,” “Superman,” “The Big Shaqtus” and “The Big Aristotle,” to name a few) started his NBA career with the Orlando Magic, and he won championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. The big man also had stints with the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. O’Neal wore Reebok on the court for much of his career, including several signature Shaq Attack iterations and the most celebrated shoe sporting his name, the Shaqnosis.
If not for Michael Jordan, Iverson would arguably have the greatest signature shoe line in NBA history. His first Question silhouette, developed by Reebok while the baller was still in college playing for Georgetown, is a favorite among basketball fans and sneakerheads alike. After the Question came the popular Answer, further bolstering Reebok’s basketball appeal. The guard with the killer crossover took the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA Finals in the 2000-01 season also played for the Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies.
Ming wasn’t well-known for his sneakers, having more of an impact on the sport’s popularity in China than the colorways of his kicks, but Reebok made sure to keep a fresh pair on his feet whenever he hit the court. The center played in the RBK Voyage Mid and Pump ShowStopper, but really turned heads during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, when he wore the Pump Omni Hexride featuring a red and gold dragon.