Newsletters

Get Well+Being delivered to your inbox every Monday Morning.

Obama Basketball Shoe Makes Its Debut
Antonio Ferguson with the prototype for his Obama shoe. When the shoe is officially released, a 44—named for the 44th president—will be on back of the shoe under the NA logo.
Comments () | Published January 15, 2009
Add “basketball shoe” to the growing list of products being marketed with Barack Obama associations. The 44, named after the 44th president, is being launched as the marquee shoe for a new sports brand called Naturally Athletic Sports.

“The product speaks for itself,” says founder and chief executive Antonio Ferguson. “Just like Nike brought out Air Force 1’s in 1984, we’re introducing the company with one of the best shoes in the marketplace.”

Ferguson took a chance in August when he presented the shoe to the public at Magic, a marketing showcase for the fashion industry in Las Vegas. At the time, Barack Obama was just the Democratic nominee for president. Luckily for Ferguson, history has proven to be on his side, which means he hasn’t had to market 72-year-old John McCain’s viability as a basketball player.

Ferguson, an African-American and the sole financier of Naturally Athletic, claims to be the first minority owner of a major sports brand. He says that the Washington-based company has adopted Obama’s message of change.

“We’re trying to change the game in the way people think about retailing,” he says. “We’re putting the product in the hands of the consumer.”

Rather than launching from stores like Champs or Sports Authority, the 44 will first be sold through the company’s Web sites—44shoe.com and Naturallyathletic.com—on April 1. The sites, which he expects to be running in the next two weeks, will sell the first 100,000 sneakers at $44.09—more than $20 less than the expected retail price. Ferguson also wants his company to address social concerns such as childhood obesity. That’s why for every pair of the first 100,000 sold, Naturally Athletic will donate a pair to disadvantaged youth. The offer will last for 45 days after the shoe’s launch.

Aside from the 44, Naturally Athletic also has athletic apparel and another 50 pairs of sneakers in the works. Ferguson is exploring marketing the brand through breakfast cereals and in television shows. He’s also in talks with the Verizon Center to get some of the naming rights at Wizards games.

“We’re looking to make a big splash,” he says.

With a shoe tied to Barack Obama, anything is possible.

>> All Washingtonian.com inauguration coverage 

More>> Capital Comment Blog | News & Politics | Society Photos

Categories:

Inauguration 2009
Subscribe to Washingtonian

Discuss this story

Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question. The Washingtonian reserves the right to remove or edit content once posted.
  • liu hong


    <html><head>
    <meta content="text/html; charset=gb2312" http-equiv="Content-Type">
    <meta name="GENERATOR" content="MSHTML 8.00.6001.19222"></head>
    <body>

    We shouldn’t be too harsh. The Beats Dr Dre Beats Solo Hd
    Solos do have a lot going for them, and
    in the right circumstances we can see why one might come away from listening to
    them having enjoyed the experience. The design, for a start, is a success
    story;
    There’s a decent amount of padding on the headband and earpads, making
    the Beats Solos comfortable to wear for long periods of time, unless you have a
    large enough head for the pressure to be too much. The sliding size-adjustment
    for the headband has a solid, mechanical feel to it,
    headphones and locks
    into place securely. We found that the articulated swivel arrangement which
    fixes the earcups to the headband gave a reasonable degree of freedom, so you
    can move the Beats Solos around on your head a fair bit and still have a good
    fit.


    I used these headphones a few times a weekDr Dre Beats Pro
    for about 18 months before the
    headband started to crack. This is probably because i’d take one cup off my ear,
    twisting the headband. Monster generously offered to replace my sample review
    units well out of warranty,  monster  best by dr
    dreso I give their
    customer service a thumbs up. Parts are also available in the US if you want to
    fix just a broken part. Overall durability seems average, they should last most
    people a few years at least.


    Overall I think these are good headphones, quite suitable for their target
    market. I’m not sure about value for money, but Dr Dre Beats Pro
    for the sound quality, noise
    reduction, and style i’m sure they will be appreciated by many. I would
    definitely take these over Bose headphones.

    </body></html>

  • liu hong


    <html><head>
    <meta content="text/html; charset=gb2312" http-equiv="Content-Type">
    <meta name="GENERATOR" content="MSHTML 8.00.6001.19222"></head>
    <body>Breitling is a well known Swiss luxury brand emporioarmani watches
    of exquisite watches. The
    styling of Breitling watches feature polished cases and bracelets and large
    watch faces which are designed to improve readability. The authentic Breitling
    watches are very expensive and range somewhere from thousands of dollars or
    above. For example, Quartz models such as the Breitling Aeromarine Colt start at
    $2,055.00 on a rubber strap, while mechanical models start at $3,000 and may
    reach prices above $100,000. Common knowledgeemporio armani watches
    will tell you that the average
    person will not have the finances to buy such an expensive piece. However,
    celebrities, and people with plenty of wealth will be able to afford
    this.
    The replica watches were made and have thrived because of the
    fantabulous appearance and looking exactly identical to the original name brand
    watches. The benefits of buying a replica watch is by far the fact that you will
    be saving an enormous amount of money and stillar5866
    receive a quality product that
    looks the same as the name brand. Having a huge sum left over your pocket, you
    can still get a quality watch and enjoy the splendor from the big brand
    name.</body></html>

blog comments powered by Disqus

Posted at 01:55 PM/ET, 01/15/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs