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Adidas and Fear of God Founder Want to ‘Change the Face’ of Basketball

Fear of God and its owner and founder Jerry Lorenzo have traded in their partnership with Nike for an alliance with Adidas.

The partnership, announced Tuesday, will go far beyond the occasional collaborative capsule, instead tasking Lorenzo with driving the creative and business strategy for Adidas Basketball globally. “The alliance challenges and exists beyond traditional collaboration—and is the truest and most honest form of both personal and business relationship,” Adidas said.

The team-up will also solidify the establishment and formation of the third pillar of the high-end streetwear label’s business: Fear of God Athletics. This new segment, joining the streetwear brand’s essentials and luxury categories, will focus on performance basketball and active lifestyle products, Adidas said.

“This is a fearless move where shared vision and conviction are at the heart of the accretion of two brands shaping sports and culture, with the purpose to truly multiply our nuanced strengths to revolutionize the performance basketball industry forever.” Lorenzo said in a statement. “Adidas and Fear of God share the same dream for the future of basketball, on and beyond the court, and we look forward to changing the face of the industry through a new model that will unfold before us in the coming years.”

Founded in 2013, Fear of God appears to have hit its stride this year, entering Lyst’s online search-based ranking of fashion’s hottest brands and products for the first time in the second quarter and again in Q3. At the same time, it has nabbed a spot on Highsnobiety and Lyst’s “Next 20 Brands” report twice this year, once in April and then again last week. And it landed on Lyst’s list of 10 breakout brands catching fire with consumers this year.

Jerry Lorenzo, coming off a two-year stint with Nike, will drive the creative and business strategy for Adidas Basketball globally.
Jerry Lorenzo Sipa via AP Images

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“The global impact that Jerry Lorenzo and Fear of God has had on culture and the industry is undeniable,” Brian Grevy, Adidas’ executive board member responsible for global brands, said in a statement. “Jerry’s authentic connection to sport, deep understanding of the footwear industry and past, and ability to reinterpret heritage and visualize the future excites us. We look forward to working with him to inspire the next generation of basketball creatives, athletes and communities.”

The news of Fear of God’s Adidas partnership comes barely a month after Lorenzo’s most recent Nike release. Lasting roughly two years, the designer’s partnership with the footwear giant largely consisted of basketball sneakers and apparel, as well as a pair of retro Converse high tops.

Adidas unveiled its latest basketball footwear innovation earlier this month. Debuting early next year on the Harden Vol. 5—the fifth signature basketball sneaker from Houston Rockets superstar James Harden—the new shoe mold will feature a seamless design and 360-degree fit system.

Though NPD’s Sneakernomics expert Matt Powell saw little hope for basketball-related footwear earlier this year, Adidas’ new investment in the sector could signal the perennially popular sport’s revival in the performance sneaker arena. Meanwhile, Under Armour is also pouring millions into building a brand around Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Steph Curry, similarly taking on Nike’s dominance as the go-to label for serious athletes.