Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Hibachi Shoe Is Hot--Too Bad Gilbert Arenas Couldn't Lace Up

The saddest thing about NBA star Gilbert Arenas hurting his knee this year, at least to me, was that this was the year he was going to show the world he was a marketing star. You see, Gilbert Arenas--more than any other star in the sports world--is the perfect combination of talent and marketing savvy and the dude just gets it. It just would have been nice to see it all come together.

After complaining to me in Feb. 2006 that adidas wasn't showing him any love, the shoe and apparel giant was going to give him the perfect vehicle. Twenty limited edition sneakers released throughout the season with a commercial of sorts coinciding with it at, like this "Cooking with Gil" spot.

And while the shoes have been tremendous and the commercials even better, the fact that Arenas hasn't been able to wear one of them on court has to be frustrating to both Arenas and adidas.

Case in point, last night. Arenas was apparently so sure that he was playing against the Pistons that he didn't bring a suit to sit on the bench. It turned out doctors didn't clear him to play and Arenas said, as he went to go get the proper attire, that he wasn't returning for the rest of the season.

It would be nice if the story was, "Arenas is on fire against Pistons as he wears Hibachi shoes."

Unbeknownst to many, last night was the night adidas had scheduled for Arenas to debut his TS Lightswitch Gil X Benihana shoes. Because Arenas was hurt, it all happened quietly. There's no mass frenzy for the shoes as there should be. I mean, who doesn't want adidas shoes with "Benihana" on the side of them? I mean look at these things. They are tremendous and they only made 1,000 of them.

Benihana Adidas Shoe

I absolutely love what adidas did here because it was certainly groundbreaking. They took a star and did what no other athletic shoe company has ever done. They made 20 different shoes with character and purpose with small Web based marketing campaigns to go along with it. The problem was that Arenas got hurt and that derailed the whole thing. All I know is whether Arenas played against Detroit or not, I'm picking up my pair of "Hibachi's" tonight.

Questions?  Comments?