Before Kanye & the Yeezy Boost, before 50 Cent & his G Unit sneakers, before Jay Z & his S. Carter shoes, & even before Master P's sneaker brand there was Run DMC & Adidas.
In 1986 the pioneer rap group Run DMC were preparing to release their 3rd album titled "Raising Hell" and the first single from the album would be the iconic "My Adidas" record. When DJ Run and DMC wrote the record there were no endorsement deals between any musicians and an athletic company and certainly very little, if any endorsement interest from companies with Hip Hop artist.
DMC explained in an interview that the significance of the Adidas Shell Toes for the culture at the time was its popularity amongst the "B Boys & B Girls" who were on the front lines of hip hop culture in the streets from break dancing to graffiti arts. Also, DMC mentioned that the shoes were not only easy to access but also easy upkeep simply with a toothbrush, soap, and water you could get many wears out of the iconic shoe.
During the mid 80's when a young basketball player from UNC-Chapel Hill named Micheal Jordan was being courted by every shoe company for endorsement, as he explained in his recent documentary "The Last Dance" he wanted to go with the Adidas brand and it was actually his mother who led him in the direction of Nike. Even the late great Kobe Bryant began his shoe endorsement journey with Adidas.
But when the song "My Adidas" released the group wasn't sponsored nor did they have any deal with Adidas. On July 19, 1986 Run DMC's co-manager Lyor Cohen invited Angelo Anastasio who at the time was an Adidas executive, to a Run DMC concert at Madison Square Garden. When they performed the song "My Adidas" they instructed the large crowd to hold up their Adidas apparel. Shortly after that concert, the group made a video where they rapped an a cappella verse and at the end they shouted "Give us a million dollars!". Anastasio met their demands and gave Run DMC the first ever athletic endorsement deal with a band or musician.
30 years later Adidas is still a staple in hip hop and the athletic community. I am blessed to be a part of that legacy as a member of the basketball coaching staff at Millbrook High School where we proudly represent the Adidas brand through all of our apparel. As I juggle my two careers as an hip hop artist and a basketball coach the influence of Run DMC's iconic deal lives on through the "Coach Rise" Adidas Collection.
The exclusive "Coach Rise" Adidas collection was designed by me but influenced by the help of Millbrook's head coach Chris Davis and our affiliation with Johnson & Lamb. The original "Rise" brand was birthed through efforts of NBA Guard and former Millbrook star Chris Clemons. When Millbrook Men's Basketball won our first ever state championship this year, there were a few billboards placed in the city of Raleigh to celebrate the victory. On those billboards there were 4 logos that represented the companies and people that I just named.
Those logos were aligned before the "Coach Rise" Adidas collection was created but it was clearly a foreshadowing of what's to come.