words // Brandon Richard
Today, the 'King of Pop' Michael Jackson would have turned 56. Many things have been said about Jackson over the years — I'd simply say he was the greatest entertainer of our time.
In September 1989, Jackson held a press conference in Hollywood to announce a mega-deal with athletic shoe maker LA Gear. While terms of the deal weren't immediately disclosed, author Zack O'Malley pegged the value at $20 million in his book, Michael Jackson, Inc.: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of a Billion-Dollar Empire. That figure was apparently requested by Jackson because it surpassed Michael Jordan's original 7-year, $18 million dollar deal with Nike. It was also a fifth of LA Gear's annual advertising budget at the time.
As part of the deal, LA Gear would run pieces of Michael Jackson videos in their ads, and in turn, he'd wear their sneakers in commercials and a few of his music videos. In fact, he had his own line of signature sneakers and a campaign dubbed 'Unstoppable.'
Jackson had multiple LA Gear sigs, but the buckled street sneaker that was styled after his famous biker-inspired boots is the one we remember most. He didn't sell a lot of pairs — by 1991, most were being sold at a hefty discount and the line was considered a flop. However, like many things, they developed a following over the years and are highly sought after by Jackson and sneaker collectors today.
For MJ's birthday, we're taking a look back at one of his classic LA gear commercials, in which he wears his signature shoe. Do Jackson's LA Gears have retro potential? Check out the spot and let us know if you'd pick up a pair.