You may have been watching Last Dance recently on Netflix (if you haven’t you really need to!) but before Michael Jordan and the 1992 Dream Team, basketball in Europe was a more formal club sport rather than the urban game we know it to be now. It wasn’t until the emergence of street basketball and the success of movies such as White Men Can’t Jump (another must-watch!), gave a different image to basketball, something more urban and accessible.
As the NBA started to become faster and stronger around the start of the 90s, adidas wanted to grow the popularity of street basketball to reinvigorate the brand, realizing the lifestyle behind basketball was as important to its success as the game itself and they launched the first-ever Streetball collection. To launch the shoe, adidas organized streetball events all over Germany and Europe, think sneaker pop ups, burger stalls, popcorn and mixtapes, where adidas were selling their own American Dream.
“The ‘Streetball Challenge’ in 1992 was a huge success and combined with The Dream Team’s victory in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the German national team winning the European Championship in 1993, basketball and streetball were suddenly huge in Europe.
As a result, The Streetball Challenge kept growing to new audiences and new cities, the 1995 tournament even drew in a live television audience of half a million, mad for something that was only started a few years previously. The adidas Streetball collection will always have an iconic place in the brand’s history as it provided the perfect touch point with street culture and basketball, and more importantly it was so authentic.
Stay tuned for all sorts of 90s Streetball heat coming your way.
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