Is there no loyalty?
What's next? Does Michael Jordan step out all retro in high top converse chuck Taylor all-stars? Does Tiger Woods trade in his swoosh wardrobe for a closet full of wrangler jeans, dashikis and panama hats?
The announcement this week that Andre Agassi will next take the court wearing clothing made by Adidas has sent shock waves throughout the tennis world and beyond.
Is the wardrobe switch a naked grab for publicity by the faded star, who missed Wimbledon with an injury and has won only two tournaments over the past two summers?
Martyn Brewer, the director of sports marketing for Adidas, has said "it's great that Andre Agassi will be wearing Adidas for some upcoming tournaments, but this deal is more about using tennis as a vehicle to help children instead of andre being the face of Adidas."
Oh, sure. Tell me another one, Mr. Marketing Guy. How gullible do you think we are? Everybody knows that nobody employs more needy children in more places than Nike.
Certainly Agassi's motivation for nixing Nike can't be that the partnership hasn't paid off for both parties. Shortly after signing with Nike in 1988, Agassi's tennis earnings soared, as did sales of the swoosh-bearing headbands, shorts, and other tennis togs he favored. and then things got a lot better. According to Forbes Magazine, Agassi was due about $40 million in Nike stock at the conclusion of his last contract.
Skeptics may think the relationship went sour because $40 million wasn't enough, but let's consider another possibility. sure, there are a lot of competitive tennis players on the courts, but as the baby boomers age, there are an awful lot more not-especially-competitve tennis players mall-walking out their allegedly golden years. Andre Aggasi, winner of 59 career titles, unlikely to reach number 60, is 35 years old, which is about 65 in real person, non-athlete years. Agassi has talked about retiring at the end of this season, meaning that he's about ready to begin stylin' in clothes that would be wrong even on today's tennis circuit: long pants, for example. bell-bottoms, perhaps, but in any case pants kinder to vericose leg veins than any shorts can be. Long-sleeve shirts with frills on the front and puffy sleeves...diversions for guys with less and less to flex. sensible shoes with arch supports.
Think it'll work? Then it's probably time to buy all the Adidas stock you can find, right now.
This program aired on July 29, 2005. The audio for this program is not available.