Sunday, May 31, 2009


This may seem... well, just plain wrong, but doesn't the now-shuttered Kobe versus LeBron push feel more this:

For those of you who refuse to relieve much of the early nineties, Reebok launched a campaign featuring two relative unknowns in the mainstream sports world, decathletes Dan O'Brien and Dave Johnson, as a part of hyping up their potential showdown in the Barcelona Olympics. What started as a "who the heck are these guys" during Washington's thrashing of the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI grew into the second-most talked about event in the States for those 1992 Summer Olympics (next to the greatest team ever assembled).

Of course, as fate would have it, there was no event to speak of.

O'Brien didn't qualify for the US Olympic Team (watching those trials live must have been painful for the Canton, MA-based sneaker company) and neither competed in the same events again.

As much as Reebok thought that Dan versus Dave was a sure thing, there was too much time between the campaign launch that January and the Games that summer for there not to have been a stumbling block. While O'Brien's shortfall came at the pole vault, the wrenches in the plans could have been anything from injury to the emergence of a stronger contender. Reebok may have sold a few more sneakers and Johnson was still able to capture a Bronze medal, but as mentioned in this morning's post, putting the cart before the horse is a very dangerous proposition in a field where prognositcations and performance differ drastically.

Fast forward to 2009 where some are pondering the question, "what will happen to the puppets?"

Actually, that's a pretty good question.

Big ups to bostonnewsarchives for the video.

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