Since Adidas lured NBA star James Harden away from Nike last year with a reported 13-year, $200 million sponsorship, fans have been waiting to see what the partnership would produce. The big-bearded Harden is known as one of the cooler guys in a very stylish league, and Adidas said it would give him his first signature sneaker.
Now images of what is reported to be Adidas’ Harden shoe are hitting the internet, including most recently a “triple black” version. Adidas has not confirmed that these are the shoes—we’ve reached out to the company for more information and will update this post with any reply—but commentators aren’t wasting any time roasting the boot-like black sneakers. Like Under Armour’s mercilessly mocked Curry 2 “Chefs” for Stephen Curry, Harden’s purported shoes are drawing some vicious comparisons.
If the shoes are really what Adidas and Harden are developing, they could just be prototypes, meaning there’s still time to make changes. But even so, the mockery could chip away at the aura of cool that both Adidas and Harden were probably hoping to capitalize on.
Adidas is currently in the midst of a major resurgence, fueled largely by its retro sneakers. It has put a lot of emphasis on partnerships centered on social cachet, and seems to want to use Harden to bring some cool to its basketball business—a category that has been soft across the industry. The Harden deal is supposed to include an apparel line, too.
Of course, the mockery may not make one bit of difference. Under Armour’s maligned Curry sneakers turned out to be great for the company, after all.