By now, everyone is familiar with the Nike AirMaxx, a sneaker that has become the standard for sneakerheads since it debuted at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Nike, meanwhile, is also a major sponsor of the NBA, so you might assume that the brand has a hand in shaping the AirMaxs and other shoes that are popular on the NBA floor.
But that’s not the case.
“I was actually really shocked to learn that Nike did not work with the NBA to produce the Air Max Xs,” said Andrew Zimbalist, who blogs about sneaker and fitness trends.
“The shoe is not Nike, and the NBA doesn’t have the rights to use the Airmaxx.”
The NBA does have a licensing agreement with Nike, which allows the company to produce Air Maxxes, but it doesn’t allow Nike to create AirMaxXs itself.
Instead, the NBA allows Nike to license a pair of sneakers for its league to use.
“Nike does not make and sell Air Max xs,” a Nike spokesperson told Bleacher Beat.
“We do not have any rights to make and distribute the Air xs, including the AirMAXx.
The NBA also has other licensing agreements with the other shoe brands, including Converse, Adidas, and Puma.”
Zimbalism, who writes for the popular shoe blog Sneakerablog, says the shoe is “probably the best sneaker on the market,” but he’s also skeptical that the NBA would want to license it. “
As a result, Nike has not been in contact with the league about any licensing agreements or licensing opportunities to license its brand.”
Zimbalism, who writes for the popular shoe blog Sneakerablog, says the shoe is “probably the best sneaker on the market,” but he’s also skeptical that the NBA would want to license it.
“For a sneak to be really good, it has to be super cheap,” he told Bleaker Beat.
Zimblist said he’s never heard of an NBA official speaking out against the sneaker, so the NBA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
He believes the NBA might be more interested in promoting the Nike ad campaign that has been rolling out throughout the NBA.
“There is a ton of money to be made by Nike with its ad campaigns,” Zimballist said.
“But if the shoe company does not feel comfortable with a partnership, I think the NBA is going to be very wary of it.
I think it would be very hard to get an official endorsement from the NBA for the Air max xs.”
Zimbellist points out that there are two reasons the shoe might not be able to get the endorsement: the shoe isn’t really well-known in the United States, and there’s a limited supply of the AirXs.
“If Nike can make a lot of AirMaxxes, it can definitely sell enough to support the shoe’s sales,” he said.
However, Zimbelis also said that it’s possible that Nike could work with NBA officials to produce and distribute AirMax xs in the future.
“It’s possible they could be able and they should be,” Zimpi said.