Adidas with Air?

Nike Air Force Max CB with Adidas stripes and Nike Air Force Max with Adidas stripes.

Adidas with Air? Not quite…

Anyone who’s followed 90s Euro League basketball will tell you that their sneaker game was on point. Classic sneakers we know and love in the United States were prominently featured on our favorite European players. But you may have noticed that sometimes the shoe looks a little different. The logo is blurred out by a marker, taped over or missing altogether. 

Nike Air Penny 2 with One Cent logo covered.

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In extreme cases, the logo you expect to see is replaced by the logo of a different brand. What’s going on here? 

Nike Air Max Uptempo 3 aka Nike Air Max Uptempo 97 with Nike branding covered.

When In Doubt, Follow The Money!

What you are witnessing is a product of sponsorships. Team sponsorships to be precise. 

Unlike the NBA, where brands sponsor individual players, in Europe (especially in the 90s), the brands would sponsor the whole team- similar to the way they do in the NCAA. This means that if you play for the team, you fall under the purview of that sponsor and must wear the products made by the sponsor. For example, if you play for a team sponsored by Adidas, you cannot wear anything other than Adidas. But what happens if you want to wear Nike’s but play for an Adidas team? Simple, just change the logo or remove it altogether! 

Nike Air More Uptempo Dream Team with Nike Swoosh covered.