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|All for King James?|
It might seem like an innocent transaction. Nike clearly wants to stay committed to the retro market for years to come and Converse is a brand that can't seem to go away. But there could be a more timely reason why the deal was made now.
On June 14, 2002, Converse filed for the trademark to use the term "King James" on clothing and footwear, according to the United States Patent & Trademark Web site.
King James is, of course, one of the most popular nicknames, along with "The Chosen One," for Nike's latest superstar LeBron James, who signed a seven-year, $90 million deal with the company in May.
But for some strange reason, Converse abandoned the trademark on April 3, 2003, roughly a month and half before Nike signed James. It has been speculated that Nike was planning on using the "King James" moniker.
"It was a coincidence, but it wasn't part of the deal," said a Nike spokesperson. There is not any shoe or piece of clothing on the Converse Web site called King James, so it does not appear like the company ever used the mark.
Interestingly, Chuck Taylor, the namesake of the Converse brand, hailed from Akron, Ohio -- James' hometown.
Other companies that have the right to use the King James name on their products include a cheesemaker and a printing press.