Skip Bayless says Kobe rape accusation gave him “edge” with consumers [video]


ESPN’s “First Take” has conversations about sports that people have when they’re with their friends. At times, some of the discussion can be uncomfortable, thought provoking, or just out right ridiculous. On Monday’s episode, a conversation took place regarding the recent endorsement deal between MeUndies and Cowboys rb Joseph Randle. The company gave Randle the endorsement following his arrest the week before for shoplifting a bottle of Gucci Guilty and a two-pack of Polo boxers.

Skip Bayless made mention that perhaps this would be the starting point for more deals for Randle because it gave him an edge.


“Remember Kobe pre-Eagle, Colorado? He failed in his first sneaker deal because he was just too clean cut and I think it was Adidas that had him first, correct me if I’m wrong, but he couldn’t sell sneakers because he didn’t have enough edge. But then post-Eagle, Colorado it brought a little attention to him, like it gave him a little bit of sizzle.”

I understand the point Skip was trying to make but a few things – outside of the distasteful element that can obviously be attached to his words. He’s totally wrong with why Kobe’s shoe selling appeal went up. I worked at Nike right when Kobe was making his decision between Nike and Adidas. Being that I was on the brand team in Los Angeles. Kobe was a HUGE priority for us, his rape accusation was a huge blow. We had to temper and change our focus based on that scenario. One thing I never heard from hundreds and thousands of fans and consumers I dealt with during that time was, “Kobe’s so cool cause he’s been accused of rape.”

I shared these thoughts on Twitter about why Kobe’s first shoe deal didn’t work.

It really boils down to 2 simple things. The product was unattractive and wrong marketing choices. Adidas focused on the “lifestyle” of Kobe. The fact he spoke Italian and was so ‘different.” At the time, when 5X jerseys and throwbacks were the norm. It illustrated yet again how Kobe didn’t fit. With Nike, the focus was on Kobe’s on court impact – and let’s be real, there wasn’t a player greater than Kobe from 04-07… That’s what ballers respected, and that’s where the authentic connectivity happened. Couple that with great footwear, and there you have it.

Adidas didn’t understand their consumer.

This one was cute though. Rookie year

video via Awful Announcing