Metta World Peace, most popularly known as Ron Artest, was known for a lot of things during his NBA career: A violent player (he still holds the record for longest suspensions for on-court incidents in NBA history), a champion, a potential Hall-of-Famer, a defensive specialist and an All-Star.
But did you know he was also a brilliant salesperson?
Artest’s brilliant shoe marketing strategy
During the 2004 NBA All-Star game, Artest was eyeing to sign with a sneaker brand. So, knowing that millions worldwide would tune in to watch the All-Star game, he decided to wear multiple shoes throughout the game.
Artest was spotted wearing one pair of Nike, Adidas, And-1, and Dada simultaneously through all four quarters.
According to Craig Sager (who talked to Artest during the game), Artest wanted a shoe contract because he believed he deserved it after becoming an All-Star for the first time.
It was an excellent attempt to get the attention of these big-time companies, but his performance on the court that night wasn’t so appealing. Artest only had seven points, three assists, three rebounds, and a steal in the 2004 All-Star game.
However, Artest’s most significant accomplishment in that year was when he won his first and only Defensive Player award, averaging 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.1 steals in 73 games.
Maybe, Artest should have changed his shoes every game in the regular season instead? Jokes aside, 2004 was arguably his best individual year outside of 2010 when he won the championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Artest eventually got the shoe deal he wanted
Artest’s strong attempt to seize a shoe deal during the 2004 All-Star weekend eventually worked as German company K1X approached him in 2005. Not only did he partner with the shoe brand, but he also had his signature shoe called “K1X Ron Artest Chiefglider”.
The “K1X Ron Artest Chiefglider” was inspired by his authoritarian personality and style on the court. It looked slick and had enough style to appeal to many customers. The shoe was produced in different colorways, specifically black gold and back/white/navy.
Artest was under a multi-million dollar endorsement contract with K1x as he also developed a clothing line with the international brand. When his deal with K1x was over, Artest then signed with Peak, a Chinese brand that also produced his signature shoe — the same shoe he wore when he won his NBA championship.
Artest might have looked like a fool changing his shoe throughout the 2004 All-Star game, but it was a brilliant idea, especially since he eventually achieved his goal.