The Reebok Question might be Allen Iverson’s most iconic shoe, but the Reebok Answer I was the first sneaker tailored to Iverson’s specifications and featured his nickname on the box. After snatching up Rookie of the Year honors and proving to be one of the most explosive scorers already after his first season, Reebok knew its next move was to build something ready to change speed and directions just as quick as Bubba Chuck. D-M-X! The Reebok Answer I was a huge step away from The Question in terms of design and technology. The shoe was lighter, slimmer, and lower than The Question, and was also the first basketball shoe to feature DMX technology, which made you feel like you were hoopin’ on clouds. Even though they weighed in at 17.1 ounces, the shoe felt like they were closer to 12 ounces. The DMX cushioning system ended up becoming a staple in AI’s next five shoes and Reebok’s greatest innovative success since the Pump.
At $125 a pop the shoe released in various colors including the standard away (black/gold) and home (white/red), as well as full-on patent leather models (a blue that released in the U.S. and a red that didn’t) gave you instant street credibility. And even though Allen didn’t make the ’98 All-Star Team (we’re not exactly sure why), Reebok is still dropping the navy and red patent-styles 15 years later after its original campaign was derailed. Reebok also introduced the “I3” logo along with a line of shorts and tees, solidifying Iverson as its signature athlete of the future with so much marketability from his play on the court to his cornrows and jewelry—he was the people’s champ. Due to this success, it helped him ink an unprecedented lifetime deal, ensuring him millions every year he laced up in the NBA.
Retro releases have earned mixed feelings over the past few years—people glad to see them back due to the nostalgia attached to the shoe they loved so much growing up, and others disappointed with a brands commitment to quality that made them a classic to begin with. The biggest question with The Answer was whether the DMX 10 technology would still be the basis for one of Reebok’s greatest basketball shoe of all time. I was fortunate enough to receive a pair early, unboxed and laced up, and I basically looked like Jim Carey in The Cable Guy testing out the cushioning and quality to see if it was true to the original or a lifestyle release disguised as the OG. To my surprise and approval, Reebok came correct supplying the shoe with DMX and the quality of the upper was on point too. Brands might want to take notes, as this is how you re-release a classic.