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October 13, 2023

Reebok hands Allen Iverson new role in attempt to revive its basketball branding

The former 76ers star, who inked his first sneaker deal with the company three decades ago, will work with Shaquille O'Neal to recruit new players to the company

Allen Iverson is synonymous with Reebok. The Sixers legend signed a shoe deal with the athletic apparel brand as a rookie in 1996 and, over the years, they released 14 signature sneakers. 

Reebok now has reaffirmed its commitment to Iverson by naming him the vice president of its basketball division. Shaquille O'Neal is the president.

Iverson will play a role in player recruitment, grassroots initiatives and events like the Iverson Classic, Reebok said. O'Neal will shape the basketball division's strategy and form partnerships with athletes and organizations.

"I'm honored to be part of (Reebok's) return to the court," Iverson posted on Instagram. For (Shaq) and me, who both joined the brand at a young age in the 90s, to growing into longtime brand partners, to now having a real seat at the table – it's special. It's a great moment for us, it's a great moment for Reebok, and it's a great moment for basketball."

This move is part of Reebok's attempt to reenter performance basketball on a global scale. The company intends to have its apparel back on professional basketball courts by 2025.

Reebok's commitment to re-establishing itself in basketball comes at a time when more athletic brands are reemerging in the space dominated by Nike, Adidas and Under Armour. Puma revived its basketball brand by naming rapper Jay-Z as creative director in 2018. That same year, New Balance signed basketball star Kawhi Leonard to a multi-year deal to increase its footprint in the NBA. 

Iverson's relationship with Reebok evolved as he shifted into retirement 10 years ago. He has a lifetime contract with Reebok and does yearly appearances with the brand, including promoting sneakers on tours in China

The former NBA MVP reportedly makes $800,000 per year from Reebok, and when he turns 55 in 2030, he is set to receive a $32 million payout. 

Iverson discussed his loyalty to Reebok during an episode of the "All the Smoke" podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. 

"I love them so much. Because even with new ownership, they have maintained the same relationship with me," Iverson said. "You know what I mean? They understand that I am Reebok. And when you think about Reebok, that's all you think about is Allen Iverson. 

"I don't care how many people come and join the company. They already know that I am Reebok, and the relationship has basically been maintained even with my retirement. And that's what I think is so awesome." 

Reebok was sold by Adidas to Authentic Brands Group in 2021 for about $2.5 billion dollars. Adidas had acquired the brand in 2006.