The latest trend in the sneaker wars is the concept of cross-promoting NBA stars and their alma maters. It started in December when Under Armour unveiled a version of Stephen Curry's signature shoe that was a tribute to Davidson College.
Adidas and Nike are getting in the mix with special school-themed shoes to be released next month for March Madness.
James Harden's "Vol. 1" shoe from Adidas has a Fear The Fork edition that salutes Arizona State. It is scheduled to be released March 4:
Kevin Durant's shoe from Nike is being billed simply as the "KD9 Texas." The Longhorn women's team will start wearing them March 4, with a public release set for March 10:
This dynamic has its limitations because the school's apparel contract must align with that of the NBA star. In Curry's case, his relationship with Under Armour was strong enough that Davidson switched from Nike after he blossomed into a two-time NBA MVP.
But it wouldn't be possible under current conditions to have, for example, a Russell Westbrook shoe for UCLA. Westbrook is with Nike's Jordan Brand while UCLA just signed record-setting 15-year deal with Under Armour.
The retro angle might be a different story. Shaquille O'Neal and Reebok are relaunching a limited edition of his first signature shoe, and it includes an LSU version. LSU is currently a Nike school. Reebok is a subsidiary of Adidas.