With Adidas Buying Reebok, Where Is British Knights?

By Gregory Moore
Updated: August 4, 2005

SAN ANTONIO — Hard to believe but a $35,000 investment is about to net Reebok founder Paul Fireman about $650 million in about a year when Reebok’s merger with Adidas is finalized. When this deal is finalized, Adidas will be the second biggest shoe company behind Phil Knight’s Nike Corporation.

In the sports apparel world that’s big news because if you look at how endorsement deals are going, companies that were in the 1980s are slowly dying or are trying to make resurgence in the market place. Anyone remember Pony, Avita, and Puma? These where the companies along with Nike, Adidas and Reebok that were in the hunt for a young kid’s affections (and his parents George Washingtons).

Other companies like Fila and LA Gear also came on the scene when some of the bigger stars started wearing them. I remember when Karl Malone wore those LA Gear kicks that lit up every time he walked. Coolest thing at the time. How about when we saw Dee Brown pump up his Reeboks? Even Converse was in style because Larry Bird and Magic Johnson make the shoes cool.

Yet many of these companies are falling by the waist side, as they are not having top-notch players at the professional ranks not wearing their products. I cannot tell you what shoe Shaquille O’Neal wears but I think it’s his own brand made by one of the shoe companies mentioned above but I’m not certain.

I know that Nike, Adidas and Reebok dominate the hardwood floor but there are sprinklings of Fila and And 1 kicks running up and down the arenas. The shoe business has become a war zone and many companies like Puma, LA Gear, Pony and Avita are slowly trying to either resurface or just hang on for a new generation.

But for that new generation to buy these products, the product themselves have to be endorsed by a well-known player and they have to perform to the standard that this particular player can thrive in. Which shoe company will produce the next And 1 mid or the next Nike Air Force? Will Adidas end up swallowing up the small companies in its wake of trying to take on King Phil and his Nike knight court?

Hard to tell but I tell you what I’m looking for? A good pair of British Knights! Anyone know where I can find some to sport while I type my more controversial op/eds?


Forget about Raphael Palmeiro and any other player that may have shot his hindquarters with horse drugs. Rep. Tom Davis if you want to rid sports of the steroids problem, I have your solution but I’m giving you fair warning; it means that your colleagues will have to do their jobs on the Hill.

Sports fans, here is the solution to the steroids problem and if Congress and the President sign it into law, I guarantee you that you will not see steroids in professional sports ever again. The solution is this: make the punishment for having steroids the same for a minority possessing an ounce of cocaine or crack.

It’s novel. It’s controversial and yes it is downright un-American but you know what folks, it is a hell of a deterrent. If the government treated the possession of having steroids the same as a black or Hispanic person selling crack cocaine in the hood, and the steroid user, seller or distributor gets hit with these outrageous court sentences that I have heard about for people possessing an ounce or less of cocaine, the Raphael Palmeiros of the world would definitely think about even cheating in sports.

Now I know socially that’s not going to be accepted. Heck whom am I kidding? We can’t even get the courts in this country or Congress to be a little more lenient to TRUE first time offenders (basically those who truly did make a mistake in judgement and who would normally be very productive citizens with some counseling on why possession of narcotics is not the way to go) who are in possession of such small quantities to offer alternative sentencing.

The judicial goody two shoes want to lock these people up and yet “white collar” crime folk or those who are doing the same thing as the first time offender are going home for house arrest.

Well if it is a waste of time for me to try this idea of harsh sentencing on a steroid user, guess what Congress? It’s a waste of time for you to try to clean up professional sports. In all honesty I think Congress needs to leave the steroids mess alone and we ask the major professional sports commissioners to change the monikers of their respective organizations for us so that they govern their own steroid policies.

For instance, baseball could be called the Major Entertainment League For Baseball. Basketball could be the National Basketball Entertainment League. Hockey could be the National Entertainment Hockey League. I’d leave the NFL alone because they have a very good handle on their steroids issue policy and structure.

SOMEBODY GET ME STEVE BELKIN’S NUMBER I was reading the Atlanta Journal Constitution the other night and came across where the trade for Phoenix guard Joe Johnson has hit a snag because of Steve Belkin. I’m not a Hawks fan (although I’m a closet supporter for Billy Knight trying to get a free agent to this team) but will somebody please get me the number to Steve Belkin so I can berate him for being a Neanderthal on this situation?

I cannot understand for the life of me why Belkin hasn’t signed off on the deal. Excuse me Mr. Belkin but did you even watch a little bit of the NBA playoffs this past season?

Do you understand that you have the chance to get a player who is a 43% three-point shooter, a hell of a defender and a guy who wants to come to a team where everybody else has shunned it? What in the hell is the problem here? Money? If that’s the case then sell your share of the Atlanta Spirit brain trust over to somebody who wants to put a winning product on the floor.

Belkin doesn’t have a single excuse for not getting this deal done. Hawks’ fans understand what is at stake here. You have nine owners who could not come together collectively on how to change a light bulb because of crap like this. The Hawks were the worst team in attendance last year.

They have a structure that is so unhealthy right now that it is surprising that even Johnson wants to come there. With that entire negative climate, here we have a millionaire who either doesn’t know about putting a winning team together or simply has a some petty issue floating with somebody in the partnership.

Belkin, you owe the fans Joe Johnson and you can’t do your job while sitting in your posh offices in Boston. Hawk fans, I’m on your side on this. This is ludicrous to have a franchise be held hostage by nine individuals who are scattered in three different geographical regions.

If you are wondering why this team will never have a winning product, this deal should be your blue print for it. It makes no sense for Belkin to be the governor of this franchise. He doesn’t live in Atlanta! You can’t run a franchise in Atlanta from Boston. We are not talking about a telecommunications company here; we are talking about a sports entity.

I’m no rocket scientist but I will say this if the Atlanta-Phoenix deal doesn’t get done because Steve Belkin’s temper tantrum, don’t blame Mike Woodson, Knight or the coaching staff. Blame the ownership Hawk fans; blame the ownership. Just when this summer looked like this franchise was ready to take flight once again with the selection of Salim Stoudamire and Marvin Williams, an owner has to act stupid.

Come on rich boys who want to play owner of this franchise, get your act together and bring Atlanta a player who can help bring prominence back to this franchise. Not even Elgin Baylor and Donald Sterling would have screwed this up back in their hey day of free agent blunderings.