#30 – REEBOK KAMIKAZE III
It’s no secret that Reebok has struggled in recent years to keep pace with some of their flourishing sneaker industry competitors, at least in the collectible sneaker realm. Yet through credible collaborations (Pump20 Collection) and new technologies (ZigTech), they still manage to make enough key moves each year to stay relevant in the game and keep things moving along in the name of progress. 2011 saw perhaps the most progress in a while, as the brand was revitalized through an unlikely partnership and the reinvention of a forgotten model from the Reebok Basketball archives. What would soon come to be is quite possibly the very first newly-designed contemporary street model to gain buzz for Reebok during the current sneaker-crazed era, and undoubtedly a direct result of the celebrity co-sign that helped usher it into the market.
Earlier in the year, Swizz Beatz was named Reebok’s Global Creative Director, but it’s a move that some beautifully-minded prognosticator might have seen coming some fifteen years out. The parallels began when 1998 productions like “Ruff Ryders Anthem” bumped with the same kind of rugged street appeal as RBK’s super scorer Allen Iverson. Both the Ruff Ryders and Iverson’s 76ers peaked in 1999, and after those teams mostly disbanded by 2002,
both Swizzy and The Answer pretty much took off all of ’03. Their paths diverge soon after, however, and as Swizz has continued to reinvent himself, he has subsequently become the answer for Reebok, while the original “Answer” has been replaced by promising young gun, John Wall, once again giving Reebok the solid foundation of star power in both the lifestyle and basketball realms that they have sorely missed since it was embodied all in one package during the Iverson glory days.
Under Swizz’s creative supervision, Reebok looked to the past for inspiration, ranging from Jean Michel-Basquiat to Seattle Supersonics force of nature Shawn Kemp. Swizzy has been responsible for curating releases based on both of these immensely talented youths’ creative peaks, but it’s The Reign Man’s memory that’s responsible for the Vector brand’s most talked about 2011 release. The Swizz Beatz x Reebok Kamikaze III brought back a look that Kemp made famous during the Sonics’ 1996 NBA Finals run and has our collective excitement piqued with the promise of future models based on Shaq’s tenure with the Orlando Magic and who knows what else. The One Man Band Man didn’t score any #1 records in 2011, but his Reebok Kamikaze III’s certainly made some noise for the brand and at least made the charts on our Sneaker News Top 30 of 2011.