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Allen Iverson Snubbed Nike’s Jordan Brand In ’96, Opted for Reebok Instead

In 1996, during his rookie season, Allen Iverson nearly became the first athlete signed by Nike’s Jordan Brand, a highly sought-after opportunity by today’s standards. However, Iverson reportedly turned down the offer after finding himself unimpressed by Jordan Brand’s presentation, ultimately choosing to sign with Reebok instead.

Allen Iverson, photo via Instagram, @Allen Iverson

Now Helping Run Reebok

Iverson, currently the vice president of Reebok’s revamped basketball division, is a fitting choice given his longstanding association with the brand, which dates back to 1996 when he launched his signature Question and Answer sneakers. Despite what seems like a longtime successful partnership, Iverson could have been the first athlete to sign with Nike’s Jordan Brand, a revelation on Complex’s Sneaker Shopping, hosted by Joe La Puma.

The episode, published on March 4, also features Shaq, who was appointed Reebok’s chief of operations for its basketball division. 

Both executives hope to revive the iconic G-Unit sneakers by 50 Cent and Jay-Z’s S. Carter lines.

Talks of Iverson joining Nike were previously disclosed in another Complex-owned production, “The Complex Sneakers Podcast,” on Nov. 26, 2021. 

Gentry Humphrey, a retired Jordan Brand VP of Footwear who played a pivotal role in the brand’s inception and its transformation into a ubiquitous subsidiary, revealed that Iverson had the opportunity to adopt the prototype version of the Nike Air Flight Turbulence, which was codenamed “Bubba Chuck.” Described to be a Jordan 11 and a Zoom Flight 95, a shoe popularized by famed Phoenix Suns and New Jersey Nets player Jason Kidd, hybrid, the sneaker featured a patent leather overlay and pod detailing in the midsole, according to Complex.

“I remember that like it was yesterday. That was a big decision for me,” Iverson told La Puma on the recent podcast. “[Nike] had a shoe, but I was convinced when I went into a meeting with Reebok that that’s what I wanted to do. They were great salespeople. They made me comfortable about getting to where I’m at right now.”

It seems Iverson’s gut feelings were justified, considering the high demand for his Questions and Answers compared to their Nike Air Flight counterparts, as evidenced by search results on StockX, a popular sneaker trading website.

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