Adidas Gets Its Retro Kicks With Vintage SportsCenter Sneakers

The show's early days inspired the shoes

Adidas turns its game-clock back to the days of Jimmy Carter, disco balls and massive afros for a sneaker celebrating the launch of ESPN's SportsCenter and the footwear giant's own history.

SportsCenter and the cable network itself bowed 42 years ago. So did Adidas' original Top Ten basketball shoes. Those debuts have now inspired limited-edition Top Ten Hi ESPN 1979 kicks, with creative agency Iris cueing up the nostalgia.

The $150 sneakers rock cream and black hues reminiscent of SportsCenter's first studio and boast ESPN logos to boot. They arrive in a '70s-TV-set package that plays the "DaDaDa! DaDaDa!" soundtrack from the iconic program's "Top Ten" game-highlights segment.

Vintage graphics and archival footage drive these promo clips, and the latter tells the footwear's story in classic "Top Ten" style:

adidas Originals Top Ten Hi ESPN Product Film

Unboxing king Jacques Slade gets into the time-bending game with a long-form segment below. And if you're guessing that a '79 'fro plays into his schtick ... well, d'uh!

"Top Ten means sport," Adidas says in campaign materials. "These shoes celebrate the legacy with retro style and signature details that look back to the beginning of both—the sneaker and the sports broadcasting titan."

Indeed, the collaboration cannily fetes the hoop-fashion-media nexus that drives so much commerce today. It recalls a time when NBA basketball, sportswear and 24/7 media had just begun to command national attention at scale and reminds us how far this union has progressed to score a permanent place in our collective consciousness.

Check out our deep dive on how ESPN navigated the long and winding return to sports following a pandemic time-out, with campaigns from Arts & Letters leading the way.


Iris New York/Atlanta
ECD: Simon Candy
Managing Director NY: Simon Yoxall
Head of Social & Content: Austin Lacter
Executive Producer: Chris Buda
Copywriter: Patrick McPherson
Designer: Katie Gwynn-Sackson

Production Companies:
Autumn Line
We Make Cool Things
V/O: Andy James

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