I continue to come across some great old school NBA advertising as I'm looking around for SDB subject matter. The start of the NBA season has really gotten me back in a basketball frame of mind and some of the things I am finding bring back some great memories from my good old days of the NBA.
The Weapon was Converse's attempt to take a bite out of the popularity of the Air Jordan. The Weapon used the NBA's other two big stars, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson as its endorsers. Back then, there were three types of fan, Jordan fans, Larry fans and Magic fans. Converse attempted to take on the Jordan giant with the other 2/3 of that equation. Most of us remember the classic image of Bird and Magic and the slogan "Choose Your Weapon".
This ad from 1987 features a few other NBA stars who joined the Weapon team. In addition to original endorsers Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, you see Isiah Thomas, Kevin McHale, Bernard King and Mark Aguirre. Converse hoped to capture even more market share by adding a few more high profile NBA stars to their endorsement list. The ad features a great look at the NBA uniform styles of the time period. Most notable is that shorts were still shorts at that time. It really does look strange to see the short style from 1987, since we have become so used to shorts not being shorts anymore. The image also features a great look at the sock styles of the day as well. High up on the calf with colored stripes, these socks were all the rage in the 1980's. The bottom of the ad features some of the color combinations that were available. Bernard King's version is interesting because it is the opposite of the other Weapons and looks much closer to a traditional design than the other color-blocked Weapons.
The Converse Weapon did have its moment in the spotlight, but it was not able to keep up with the Air Jordan and its ever changing cutting edge design. As the Weapon stayed the same, just shuffling colors around, the Air Jordan evolved into a different shoe each year and remained as the top shoe in the industry. This old school ad is another great look back at a great time in the athletic shoe business and at a great time in the NBA.
Thanks to SDB contributor Trev, I found this classic Weapon ad that features a unique rap performance by Kevin McHale (Thanks Trev):