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Sunday night was an inspired evening for Kanye West and adidas. Not only did West wear the all-new adidas Yeezy Boost at the 57th annual Grammy Awards, so did many of his famous friends. What’s more, West performed his latest song, ?Only One,? in the highly anticipated shoe under a single spotlight – a fitting tribute to his late mother, first child, and the birth of his new partnership with adidas. Yet, even with those triumphs brought about by Sunday’s events, many in the sneaker community have been buzzing about Kanye’s words the night prior.
During a guest appearance at label mates Big Sean’s concert at the House of Blues in Hollywood Saturday night, Kanye, like he’s done plenty times before, took the mic for an impromptu chat with the audience. In that brief discussion, he candidly and almost cheerfully asked the crowd, ?Should Nike be afraid of Kanye West?? Now, many will attest that these comments were ill-timed considering the hype surrounding his dream opportunity with adidas finally taking shape. But the question does raise an interesting thought. Should Nike be afraid of Ye?
Since West and Nike severed ties in December 2013, there has been apparent and often vocalized tension between the two parties. West has certainly expressed his concerns aloud in interviews, while many believe Nike has done so through the unconventional release of his Nike Air Yeezy II ?Red October,? and subsequent releases in similar colorways thereafter. But does the imminent success of the Kanye West x adidas line scare Nike?
It’s obvious adidas has a lot to gain from their inaugural release with West that’s set to debut Thursday, February 12, at New York Fashion Week. A masterfully planned stage has been set for this unveiling pre-dated by offerings from Pharrell Williams, NIGO, Rita Ora, and brand staples like the Stan Smith?and?Superstar. Moreover, the ZX Flux, Tubular Runner and greater visibility of Y-3 drops, continue to guide Three Stripes followers into a more progressive design appreciation; a clear attempt to ready them for the futuristic aesthetic noted in the Yeezy 750 Boost and what’s to follow.
adidas’ heightened success at this point is just a matter of time. Housing the most influential pop culture icon of this generation certainly gives them an edge once held by Nike. And maybe West was implying that Nike should be scared because he is doing at adidas what he claims he was never allowed to do with them. Maybe West is not so subtly saying ?this could have been us.? Whatever the sentiment, Kanye West x adidas will be great for adidas. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Nike should be scared.
The nature, and often times threat of competition, is best for all parties. adidas growing stronger is great for sneaker culture in general. And yes, that includes Nike. Maybe it inspired Jordan Brand to sign Drake last year. Maybe it had a hand in Don C designing an Air Jordan 2. When the level of competition is raised so are the performances. Both adidas and Nike are at the top of their game, respectively. adidas undoubtedly has an ace in the hole with Kanye West, no one can deny that. But does that scare Nike? Well, it’s not up to us to say if it does or doesn’t. But if history has taught us anything it’s that greatness begets greatness. So if nothing else, it’ll be exciting to see these giants in sportswear raise taste levels through a wealth of great products and cultural experiences.