Back for the first time, Bubba Chuck’s iconic Mile High player exclusive touches down at retail on Black Friday.
Not all Christmas gifts arrive on time.
Hosting the holidays at high altitude, Allen Iverson and his family’s first winter in Colorado came just days after departing from Philadelphia.
Traded away after 11 years of blood, sweat, and tears out East, AI’s Denver Nuggets debut came on Dec. 22, 2006, at the Pepsi Center with the shock still setting in.
“I became a man in Philadelphia,” Iverson told Steven A. Smith shortly after the trade. “If I would’ve went to some cupcake city and did anything that I wanted to do? I don’t think that I’d be the man that I am now.”
Now the man in the Mile High City, Iverson was adjusting to his new climate.
In an intimate interview with Smith, the longtime Philly beat writer who covered his come-up, Iverson wore his heart on his sleeve and a Nuggets fitted slightly tilted on his head.
While a quick trip to Lids could get his crown right, Reebok raced to outfit his feet.
“It was a new chapter in my career, so I wanted to take it back to my roots,” Iverson told Boardroom.
Those roots were the Reebok Question: the iconic signature sneaker that made 1996’s No. 1 draft pick the toast of the culture and a $60 million endorser.
Answering the call, Reebok delivered a custom colorway of the Question to Iverson on Dec. 28, just days after Christmas.
Perhaps overwhelmed by his lifetime sponsor’s act of generosity, he returned the favor by giving the Seattle Supersonics 44 points and his new coach, George Karl, his 800th career win over his old ball club.
Now, nearly 16 years after that explosive arrival, this same spirit of sharing continues as Reebok will release AI’s prized PE from his days in Denver for the first time in history.
So, what do the Mile High City and the Reebok Question mean for Iverson and the brand? Boardroom has the answers.
Over the course of his career, Allen Iverson’s own affinity for his first signature shoe never died.
“I loved Question and everyone was still feeling it 10 years later,” Iverson says. “It also took new colors well, so we were always experimenting with it.”
From its 1996 arrival to his Denver debut a decade later, the Question remained relevant at retail despite new Answer models.
Accordingly, it came in and out of his on-court and off-court rotation all the while.
The initial plan was for Allen to return to the Question every All-Star Game as seen by the infamous yellow and navy pair produced for the 2000 midseason classic in Oakland.
But, on a whim, he wore his active Answer III signature instead but returned to form in DC the next year by wearing a White/Black Question Mid.
Not only did he win the ’01 ASG MVP in the Question, but the rookie rendition continued to crush at stores and on courts across the country.
Now starting over in a new city with new teammates, it was on Iverson and his team at Reebok to rebrand his second act with something fresh and familiar.
Upon his Denver debut, the new Nugget hit the hardwood in a powder blue pair of Reebok NBA Downtime Mids: an Air Force 1 look-alike made in team tones thanks to the league’s sponsorship with the Boston-based brand.
Ironically, the man that challenged the NBA’s dress code was still set on matching, even if it meant wearing the league logo on his shoes.
After that 22-point performance, he switched to something more modern by breaking out a pastel patent leather pair of Reebok’s ATR The Pump.
Aiming to feel at home in Denver, around the holidays no less, Iverson still searched for a sense of comfort. While team-toned takes of the Reebok Answer 10 would eventually arrive, his original model was meant to cut the line.
“It just made sense that when I first laced up in the powder blue and gold, it was with Question,” Iverson says.
For years, collectors pined for the player-exclusive colorway corresponding with AI’s days in Denver. As recent as 2017, a game-worn size 10.5 PE sold for over $2,000 at auction.
Back for the first time, this elusive iteration is releasing at retail, thankfully for fans.
Even better? Unlike Allen in ’06, you can get your pair before Christmas.
In basketball, the game’s biggest stars deliver their hoop heroics in the fourth quarter.
In the business of sportswear, brands hit the holiday season with the same energy.
On Nov. 25, 2022, the Reebok Question “On to the Next One” immortalizes Iverson’s Nuggets PE with a proper retail release.
Corresponding with Black Friday and end-of-the-year shopping hysteria, it’s a poignant play by Reebok who has always gotten guaranteed gains when it comes to the Question.
“Looking back at the Question, that shoe went from very minimal distribution to millions of people asking for it globally,” Reebok GM Todd Krinsky told Boardroom in July.
“I remember when it first launched, I was on my way to a Philly Foot Locker – some of the Foot Locker team believed in it, some didn’t — and it sold out before we even got to the mall.”
Tens years later when Iverson landed in Denver, the powder blue Pantone of his iconic signature shoe was never released at retail in exact on-court specifications.
However, that didn’t stop the Mile High market from eating up everything Reebok and Allen Iverson just the same.
“Over that time, Reebok became even more synonymous with Allen Iverson,” says Iverson. “We started to see the shoes in the streets and that was cool. Denver will always have a place in my heart.”
Now, from Colorado to Philly, fans will have a chance to scoop the blue and yellow retro release for the first time ever. This iteration bares near-OG form, updated with a custom graphic sock liner for storytelling effect.
As illustrated, fans will finally have this shoe for themselves and will even have a chance to either give or receive it as a gift no matter what’s their holiday.
Though AI didn’t have his own pair in hand during that first Christmas spent in Denver, he still remembers how his new city greeted him upon his holiday arrival.
“With open arms,” Iverson says. “They knew who I was and what I could do. And I think they just appreciated me for always being me.”
“That meant playing hard and wearing what I wanted to wear.”
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