Reebok is trying to reestablish its brand in the sports world, and on Wednesday it announced the hiring of two people it believes can help do that: Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson.
In a full circle moment for both the players and the brand, O’Neal has been named Reebok’s president of basketball, and Iverson has been named vice president of basketball. O’Neal was Reebok’s very first signature athlete, and the Shaq Attaq was its first signature shoe. Iverson was also a Reebok athlete, and his popularity in the early 2000s gave the brand a big boost and an edgy credibility.
“AI is a founding father of Reebok Basketball and has left a lasting impact on the game and its surrounding culture,” O’Neal said via Boardroom. “There is no one I’d rather work with to bring in a new generation of ballers to Reebok than him. Shaq and AI back at it — feels good.”
Todd Krinsky, Reebok CEO, is excited to welcome two actual basketball legends to the company in an official capacity.
“Being at the company for such a long time, one of the things I’m most proud about, is a lot of brands have relationships with their athletes and endorsers. Usually they’re giving them product in perpetuity and having them come to events and appearances,” Krinsky told Boardroom. “With this, we’re actually bringing two of our legacy athletes together and having them be in real management positions within our company.
“It’s a new move in our industry that hasn’t been done before.”
Shaq and Iverson will both be focusing on recruiting players, but in ways that play to their strengths. Iverson will be recruiting players by concentrating on Reebok’s involvement in grassroots organizations and community initiatives. Shaq will be using his contacts to connect, recruit and retain those athletes.
“A big part of my role will be leveraging my network to build bridges, connect the brand with players, and help those players develop through their partnership with Reebok,” O’Neal told Boardroom.
Krinsky, who started at Reebok in the mailroom and has spent the last decade in various leadership roles, was named CEO in 2022 after the company was sold to Authentic Brands Group. Tasked with reinvigorating the Reebok brand, Krinsky wanted to bring in two of its most successful signature athletes — but not just as figureheads.
“We started to talk about creating a strong role for Shaq to really be influential. It wasn’t going to just be a consulting role,” Krinsky said. “We wanted him to be in the fire with us and making strategic decisions. We felt like, ‘Let’s have Shaquille run this business with us.’”
And if you know Shaq, in the fire is exactly where he wants to be.
“We just want to do things differently,” O’Neal told Boardroom. “That’s what we were best known for back then and what we want to stay true to now.”
Written by: Broadcast HipHop Network
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