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Friday, July 17, 2009

Converse A.D. (After Dwyane)

I was about to turn off my computer and go to bed last night when I though I’d check Google news for news on Converse.  I do this a couple of times a day just to check and see if there is any interesting news about my favorite brand.  I found out from Darren Rovell, that there were rumors that Dwyane Wade would be leaving Converse to sign with Jordan

Naturally, I couldn’t sleep, if you saw on Twitter, I kind of freaked out.  Then official word came down this morning that Wade was in fact moving to Jordan.  The move comes with 3 years left on his Converse contract.  I am dealing with a range of emotions that goes from anger to excitement and everything in between.

If you know me, I tend to be a really positive person.  Life is too short to let stuff drag you down.  So while I could write this post as a bitter fan that wishes nothing but bad things for Wade, I’ll take the high road.  But I do have my concerns and issues which I will discuss.

Which is why I’ve titled this post Converse A.D. (After Dwyane).  The big question isn’t why, because it’s already happened and nothing is going to change.  The real question is what’s next.

First, we’ll deal with some logistics; three of the upcoming Basketball products have been scratched, for now anyway.  The Wade Team Clutch 2, Wade Team Undeniable, and Wade 5 are no more.  This brings the total number of team shoes to 2.  But more importantly it takes away two shoes featuring the brand new Converse Balls technology.  For the Fall of 09 that only leaves the Weapon EVO with the new technology.  No word yet on the holiday 09 lineup, but hopefully there will be at least one more shoe with the tech.

Secondly, if Dwyane was unhappy at Converse, then he needed to leave.  What good would it be to have an athlete with a signature shoe if he doesn’t wear his own shoe?  This was the case with the Wade 4 last year, who knows if he was going to wear the Wade 5.

Thirdly, this is where we can start to look forward.  Converse now has a boat load of money freed up from the Wade contract.  This is only a positive if they actually use it to increase the number of players they have in the NBA or the number of teams they have in college basketball.  As it stands right now they will have fewer players this year then they did last year, which was less then the year before that.  I’ve always been told if you’re not growing your dying.  With this freed up money they can go out and sign a hand full of players that no one else seems to have money to spend on…Blake Griffin, Stephen Curry, Johnny Flynn …etc.

Those are my early thoughts from the Converse end of things.  However, from the Nike end this just doesn’t make any sense.  Jordan and Nike already hold an unbelievable market share of the basketball market and it only makes sense that a strong Converse would help the whole portfolio.  I’ve never been a huge fan of the Nike purchase and now my fears are starting to come true.  Nike doesn’t care about Converse and if they do I’d really enjoy an email or a phone call from someone in Beaverton to try and convince me otherwise.  Jack Boys, before Converse was purchased by Nike, expressed interest in branching out into the running and training performance categories.  This would’ve helped to strengthen the brand and might have led to re-entrance into Tennis, Football, and Baseball.  I feel this way because the people now running Pony were in charge of Converse before they sold to Nike.  This was right after Converse had signed Wade, Bosh, Hinrich and others.  Who knows where Converse would be without Nike, in some ways I think they would be better off.  That being said, the potential for Nike to take Converse higher is there, they just don’t seem to care. 

I’m very frustrated, but I’ve been a Converse fan for a long time.  I’ve been through leaner times than this, like when Andre Miller was the only NBA player Converse had.  The truth is Converse still has Elton Brand, Jameer Nelson, and Kirk Hinrich to name a few.  It could actually be a lot worse, which is usually always the case.  I’ll end with this, Johnny Cash once sang in A Boy Named Sue, “I knew you’d have to get tough or die.”  This is the challenge for the people at Converse, Get Tough or Die!

You can roll over and give up or you can fight for brand…I’ve been fighting since 1996 and unlike Dwyane Wade, I’m not going anywhere.



Marko said...

Jon said...

Hey, at least Converse is doing better than And 1 in the NBA department, who do they have? Rafer and Monta Ellis? Outside of the NBA, Converse will still be a never ending force with Chuck Taylors alone - the world's best selling shoe? Nike is probably just banking on that.

NBL said...

Not good at all! Nike picking and choosing who they want.
Wades change is more of a promotion within the same company.
His office used to be in the basement its now on the top floor ,full luxury with nice city views!


Ok this proves that the people running CONS are not the bright bulb in the pack. You have just loss your only main high profile player and now what do you have to show for it? Here is the thing if Converse want to show people its a basketball company then it need to market itself and regain what it was in the 60's thur the 80's. Weapon EVO is a start but Converse needs better designs and high profile players, maybe they need to go back to the wild radical designs of the 90's. Converse need a better lead designer and a strong CEO to recover from this loss...sorry for the rant James.