Made memorable by a cultural moment and fluid design, the standout sneaker from AI’s Rookie of the Year debut is returning Aug. 19.
Growing up, a young Allen Iverson idolized Michael Jordan with a passion many can relate to. From playing in MJ’s first signature shoes in Hampton rec leagues to lacing up the classic “Concord” Air Jordan 11s for his sophomore season at Georgetown, Iverson was a superfan and a superstar all at once.
Then, just a year after battling in the Big East Tournament with Jordans on his feet, AI had a chance to face his hero.
On March 12, 1997, Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers hosted Jordan and the Chicago Bulls for a regular season outing. Jordan, fresh off a 72-10 season and his fourth championship, was the alpha dog in the league with Iverson representing the next generation. MJ, per usual, laced up his Air Jordan signature shoe — then on its 12th installment — while Iverson, only a rookie, was rocking rival brand Reebok as part of his first sneaker deal.
Engineered by David Falk, then agent to both athletes, Iverson landed the largest guaranteed deal in footwear history with a $60M contract that included his own indivualized line. The Reebok Question, drafted by designers during Iverson’s sophomore season in college and influenced heavily by his Air Jordan 11 fandom, was now toe-to-toe with the player and product that inspired both.
Breaking out the “Blue Toe” take — a pearlized leather version in line with Philly’s patriotic threads — an awestruck Iverson turned his nerves into nostaligia, putting his hero in the blender for an iso sequence that started with a crossover and ended with a bucket.
The moment started both a rivalry and a friendship with the shoes living in folklore for the time since. After a retro run that’s never truly stopped, the iconic Question is coming back to retail on Aug. 19 in its famed crossover colorway.
Kinda Like a Big Deal
Reebok broke the bank on Allen Iverson.
Not only did David Falk secure the most money in sneakers at that time for a rookie, Reebok absolutely ate off the lightning-in-a-bottle excitement of Iverson and his first shoe.
“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.”
Flooding the basketball market, which Nike dominated, Reebok released the Question all throughout Iverson’s epic Rookie of the Year season before bringing out the Answer I for his second season.
Even as the Answer series saw success, Reebok released the Question in team bank colorways for college programs in the late ’90s and early ’00s while the shoe continued to crush on court and in the streets for decades.
These days, even 26 years after its unveiling, the Question is ubiquitous with pop culture, outfitting fans of all ages. In 1996, at the tender age of 21, Iverson couldn’t believe how popular the shoe was among the Philly faithful as he was only months removed from rocking the sneakers worn by his Chicago hero.
“When he first saw Question and saw kids wearing it, that sort of shook him,” Krinsky said. “We even did a whole commercial around that moment. But he liked the Question design and having his own signature shoe that worked for him on-court.”
Fortunately for Iverson, he wasn’t the only person that would be shook by the power of the Question.
Fortunately for fans, the shoe that represents that all-encompassing cultural moment is returning for all to envy.
When & Where
On Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, the Reebok Question “Blue Toe” returns to retailers as an homage to the icon.
Priced at $160 for adult sizing and scaled all the way down to children’s takes, the shoe celebrates the memorable moment in the classic colorway it’s forever tied to. Pairs will be plentiful and available at Foot Locker, Champ Sports, Hibbett, and other retailers. Additionally, Reebok will be releasing the retro run online.
Even after all these years, both the moment and the shoe strike a cord with the man who made both matter.
“It was a dream come true,” Iverson said in a statement. “It was close to the same feeling of when you get drafted. Only a certain amount of people have their own signature shoe; that really means you’re special.”