Bring Back Shaq(s): An Open Letter to Reebok

Or at least bring back his shoes.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Dear Reebok,

Not sure whether you heard, but Shaq announced his retirement yesterday. You remember him, right? I hope so. ‘Cause back in the day y’all used to be tight. Hell, even before he signed that big deal he was with you — remember when the rook-to-be wore head-to-toe Reebok to his meeting with Nike? Last we heard, Phil Knight was still mad about that, and it was damn near 20 years ago. That’s the Big Fella though — always ready to tweak someone no matter who they are. We’ll miss that more than anything as he rides off into the sunset to be a sherrif or whatever.

But we’re getting off track. He signed with you guys (and Pepsi, and Lord knows who else) and tried to break that whole “big men don’t sell shoes” thing. You both did. That first shoe, the Shaq Attaq? Banger. Things slipped a little when you went the Insta Pump route (ain’t easy designing shoes for a guy who wears a size 20-plus, is it?) but came back hard with the Shaqnosis. With those two shoes alone you should have ruled the world. But then came the visible Hexalite days and things like the Dunk Mob and the Preacher and then you went your separate ways.

Now, we’re not putting all of the blame on you, here. Please understand that. We’ve seen how Shaq does — always buoyant and building on arrival and burning as many bridges as he can on the way out of town. It’s happened again and again. But maybe he’s mellowed some in his old age. He’s announcing his retirement in Orlando, the city he spurned to sign with the Lakers. And the Lakers have announced plans to retire his number, despite the fact that their split was more acrimonious than Guru and Premier’s. They’ve forgiven, if not forgotten.

So, how ‘bout it? We know Shaq went on to form his own shoe companies (word to and was still wearing those Dunkman joints right up to his last day as a Celtic. We don’t expect you to kiss and make up or sign him to a new deal. If you think you’ve paid him more than enough already (and you probably have), that’s cool. We understand. But this shouldn’t be the end. Pay tribute to the Big man, release those original Pumps as the “Attaq,” the Shaqnosis as the “Bignosis.” Take off the Shaq logos if you must, but let those shoes breathe. Tell Swizz to chill out for a minute, put down the Insta Pump Furys and the Dee Browns and give us what we want. What we deserve. Honor the Big Vector with some retro love. Finally.

Oh yeah, and send me some size 10s.


Respectfully yours,

--Russ Bengtson