Technology50 Cent’s G-Unit Sneakers Rivaled Air Jordan At Their...

50 Cent’s G-Unit Sneakers Rivaled Air Jordan At Their Peak, Says Reebok CEO

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50 Cent’s G-Unit sneaker was such a cultural phenomenon that its success rivaled that of Air Jordan at its peak, according to Reebok. Todd Krinsky, CEO of Reebok, recently made that claim during an appearance on The Complex Sneakers Podcast, recalling that during one year, one pair of G-Unit sneaks nearly outpaced a pair of Air Jordans in a similar colorway.

“We were selling like, you know, 40-50,000 per color at a time,” Krinsky said of the G-Unit sneakers, before noting Paul Fireman, the brand’s CEO’s focus on Reebok’s sales in comparison to that of Air Jordans. “He was always saying how many Jordans sell this week. I’m telling you, he was literally asking that every week or every time we had a meeting.”

Krinsky continued, adding, “I remember that back to school we sold on one color, like 75,000 pairs. However, he’s sure to clarify that G-Unit sneaks were not as big of a brand as Air Jordan overall, but that they were in fighting distance in the marketplace at one point during the early ’00s. “I’m not saying by the way that G-Unit was ever close to Jordan in any way. I’m saying that one moment in time, that one colorway, I think we sold in almost as many pairs as the Jordan launch for that period.”

50 Cent holding up a white G Unit sneaker

Rapper 50 Cent arrives November 4, 2003, at his and Reebok’s launch party for Answer 7 and G6 footwear at Capitale in New York City.

Lawrence Lucier/Getty Images

The exec also recalled conversations with Fireman about utilizing the Hip-Hop aesthetic and its stars to help sell their products. This led to the signing of first Jay-Z, then 50 Cent, who claims to have made $80 million as part of the deal, as endorsees with their own signature shoe. “We had this conversation in his boardroom about music artists are becoming more influential than ever,” Krinsky remembers. “And this was that Renaissance period of kind of ’90s and 2000s Hip Hop.”

Complimenting 50 Cent on his business acumen and willingness to promote the brand, Krinsky reveals how Fif would pull out all of the stops in order to ensure his sneakers’ success, from visiting retail stores in an attempt to boost sales. “50 was also incredibly immersed in the business,” Krinsky said. “Like he came to every meeting on time, ready to go, and his first question every meeting was ‘How many pairs we sell this week?’“

Watch Todd Krinsky’s appearance on The Complex Sneakers Podcast below.

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