Georgia Tech allies itself with Adidas, which has always been cool

The Stan Smith. I have the model with black trim. Just sayin’.

This was the 1969 Final Four, which wasn’t then known as the Final Four: UCLA, with Alcindor/Abdul-Jabbar and his stellar supporting cast, beat Purdue for the national title; Drake — yes, Drake — and North Carolina were the losing semifinalists. A check of photos shows that all four teams wore white high-top Converse All-Stars, the famous Chuck Taylors.

Google the photos from the next year’s championship game, and here’s what you find: UCLA, sans the man John Wooden called “Lewis Kareem,” played Jacksonville with Artis Gilmore, and nobody on the floor was wearing Chucks. They’d scrapped canvas for more exotic brands, the regal Bruins opting for white leather with three black stripes. (I believe Jacksonville sported Pro Keds, but I could be wrong.)

That Final Four will be remembered, basketball-wise, for Sidney Wicks, six inches shorter, blocking four — or five, or six; accounts vary — Gilmore shots. To those of us in our teens, it was the Adidas Final Four. By autumn 1970, even kids in smallish Kentucky towns had the precious leather sneakers with the three stripes. I know. I was one. My pal Max, a good player for a school one county over, had them, too. We wanted to be cool. Adidas was cool.

I’m older now, with no real dog in the apparel fight, but Georgia Tech allying itself with Adidas — or adidas, if we do as the company does and dispense with upper case — seems fitting and proper. Tech is not, as Tech folks will gladly attest, like most big-time athletic programs. It’s not the flagship school in its state, but darned if it doesn’t up and sink those flagships now and then. Tech isn’t the center, but sometimes it’s the bleeding edge. That’s a good thing.

Most big-time programs are Nike programs, which makes sense. Nike has the marketing might. Nike has the memory of Michael Jeffrey Jordan in full flight. But Nike has so many schools — Oregon is THE Nike school — that you see a swoosh without really seeing it. The three stripes, though … well, they’re just different enough to catch the eye.

Don’t misunderstand. Adidas is no come-lately. It was involved with Puma in what Sports Illustrated called an “Amateur Track Scandal” back in 1969, when the swoosh was still a gleam in Phil Knight’s eye. Adidas is German-based and has been a global player for nearly a century. And if you had to ask me my current pick of shoes in the ol’ closet, it’s my Stan Smiths.

Stan Smith was the No. 1 tennis player in the world  — he won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open — but only us old-timers recall him as such. He’s known worldwide as the guy whose name (and face) grace the white leather sneakers with three rows of perforations, as opposed to three stripes. That Adidas model has, according to CBS, sold 50 million pairs.

True story: I smacked my toe against the couch and hobbled around for a week. My foot still hurt on the day the Hawks held their Philips Arena renovation announcement. I wore my Stan Smiths with a suit because sometimes needs must. Three people, all rather younger than I, made favorable comments. Said Jelani Downing, the Hawks’ manager of corporate communications: “Those are my favorite all-time shoes.”

Stan Smith says nobody knows him, but they darn sure know his shoe. Adidas has made a 70-year-old a paragon of coolness. It should do right by a big-city corporate client in a Power 5 collegiate conference. Can’t wait to see Paul Johnson in his Stan Smiths.

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37 comments
vaebam
vaebam

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Rogerc1997
Rogerc1997

How about a Stan Smith shoe in GT gold. ASAP

wilder73
wilder73

For once I will agree with what you said - the Stan Smiths are the best!

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

I assume this new deal with Adidas will benefit Tech at least economically. Don't know if as Bradley says the "Cool" factor will actually attract more 4 and 5 star athletes to the football program. Sad day in another way, one of the last nails in the coffin for former athletic apparel giant Russell Athletic. Always thought it was a mistake when Russell spent over $100 Million  a year on the MLB uniform contract in the 1990's instead of developing a footwear line to try and compete with Nike. Now with Under Armour ,Nike , and Adidas to compete with, Russell Athletic will be shut out completely in NCAA power 5 conference team uniforms.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Is Tech going to rival Oregon in flash?? Flashy uniforms have always helped win games..........as long as there's talent inside those fancy unis. I hope they don't come out dressed like clowns. I can't see Johnson allowing that to happen. Class, not flash would be a good change.



TOJacket
TOJacket

Let's give the Vols their unconditional resignation....GO JACKETS!!

TideDawg
TideDawg

@TOJacket  If Tech should beat The Vols I think that would put Butch in the unemployed line.

mike the man
mike the man

Adidas is perfect fit for male Tech undergrads.  All Day I Dream About Sex.   (As opposed to having it)

DawgNole
DawgNole

@mike the man

Is that like Clemson's booster club, IPTAY?

(I Pleased Two Animals Yesterday)

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

LOGS1973 November 3, 2016

GT should handle the Tar Heels . . . Jackets win by 14 .

Dogs in big trouble and lose to UK . . . Dogs lose big!!

LOGS1973 October 6, 2016

. . . UGA wins a big 6 games this year.

LOGS1973 September 3, 2016

The Heels should boat race the Dawgs . . . .

Tar Heels should win big!

LOGS1973 September 3, 2016

UT will win the East Bradley . . . You will be proud to be a Vol before seasons end and remember, good old Rocky Top!!!!!!

Bawahwahwahwah!

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Hey logs and Stoney. 3 of 13, 1999, and no Mills.

Tell us all again about Mills you loser nerd Logs!

Bawahwahwahwah

charlestonian77
charlestonian77

@twelveofthirteen typical of a uga 'roads' scholar.  math challenged.

how the heck do you find time to post in between picking up litter on the "road"side while dressed in orange?  snicker. 

maybe you should consider changing allegiance to clemson?

and speaking of 'roads' scholars i have a pop quiz for you...

what school advertises their mba program in the sports pages along with 3 dwags fries and a coke?

not even gsu or gs would embarrass themselves by advertising a grad school program on the sports pages like a hot dwag.  lmao

dawg fan
dawg fan

I can't believe I just wasted 3 minutes of my life reading that.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@twelveofthirteen That is the prediction for the dawgs win/loss genius!

Gt has plenty of backs and won't miss Mills at all!

The dogs won't have Hershell or anything much

else.. UGA could win 6 big games, maybe!!!

By the  way GT runs this state!!!!!! Buzzzzzz

DawgNole
DawgNole

@LOGS1973

I don't believe I'd be poking at anyone about their predictions after some of the duds you posted last year:

______________

LOGS1973 November 3, 2016

GT should handle the Tar Heels . . . Jackets win by 14 .

Dogs in big trouble and lose to UK . . . Dogs lose big!!

LOGS1973 October 6, 2016

. . . UGA wins a big 6 games this year.

LOGS1973 September 3, 2016

The Heels should boat race the Dawgs . . . .

Tar Heels should win big!

LOGS1973 September 3, 2016

UT will win the East Bradley . . . You will be proud to be a Vol before seasons end and remember, good old Rocky Top!!!!!!

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Tell us all again who the best RB in the state is dumb @$$

MelloJacket
MelloJacket

@twelveofthirteen Amazing... What? Do we forfeit a game? There are 12 games in the college football season. 

Go back to u(sic)ga and learn to count. Another 4 year degree *might* do the trick.

Already_Older
Already_Older

@LOGS1973 @twelveofthirteen Mills was a stud, so you can't say we won't miss him or that we wouldn't be better with him.  He was going to be the best B-back we have had since Dwyer and (Anthony) Allen.  Hopefully, we will be able to do well in spite of the loss.