Wilson and STAPLE are collaborating for the first time, launching a custom indoor-outdoor basketball for the men’s and women’s game. The Wilson x STAPLE Made to Win Basketball was made to honor all the leaders in our communities, reminding everyone that the path to greatness is made by you. With an eye on 90’s design through the lens of women’s and men’s basketball, this collab ball is available in Size 6 and Size 7 with an exclusive colorway for each.
The product will be available starting Oct. 27 on Wilson.com and limited quantities will be available in our Wilson SoHo store (594 Broadway, New York NY 10012).
Wilson and STAPLE are both influencers in their own right. To celebrate the collaboration we hosted a launch event at our Wilson flagship storefront with nearly 100 movers and shakers from the world of basketball. The event featured a Q&A hosted by NBA style influencer and media personality Lance Fresh, STAPLE founder Jeff Staple and Wilson Director of Brand Communications Sarah Houseknecht. The panelists covered everything from this collaborations’ inception to how both brands leverage their relationship with the NBA.
Here is what they had to share:
TALK ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP’S INCEPTION? WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WILSON AND WHAT WAS IT ABOUT THE BRAND THAT MADE IT STAND OUT?
Jeff Staple: The way I got into sneaker culture was through sports. I grew up in the age of the bad boy Detroit Pistons, the Jordan rules, just that golden era of the NBA. I grew up watching slam dunk contests with Spud Webb, Dominique Wilkins, and the only thing I could come close to getting to those people was their shoes and the ball that they were using.
The idea of now developing a brand of my own that has reached a level where it can actually do a project or a collaboration with a brand that I grew up with, and by the way not only in basketball – a lot of people don’t know this but I was semi-pro tennis player. I was in the USTAs, I was ranked, and it was Wilson tennis balls, Wilson rackets, it was my DNA growing up. So the fact that now here I am doing, doing a brand, grinding, hustling, figuring this stuff out, and now Wilson calls – it’s a real accomplishment for me.
Sarah Houseknecht: For Wilson, this is really special as well. When we think of basketball culture the mantra we live by is Bonded by Ball. We’re always looking for ways to expand who we can reach through basketball and by partnering with brands like STAPLE we’re able to reach a whole new demographic. Wilson has this great history and heritage from a performance perspective, but partnering with STAPLE allows us to reach a whole different audience. Whether you’re a player, a coach, a person that works in sport, or a person that’s inspired by sport, we can now really speak to being Bonded by Ball and really being part of a global basketball community in a different way than we could on our own, which is really cool. So it’s a little of taking that brand trust and turning it into brand lust.
TELL US MORE ABOUT THE WILSON X STAPLE BALL AND THE INTRICATE DESIGNS YOU LANDED ON?
Jeff Staple: You [Lance] mentioned the OG Pigeon Dunk and that time that you came into [sneakers and lifestyle culture], and I think one of the secrets to the reason why people still talk about that shoe today nearly 20 years later is because instead of something was over the top artful we went with something that was timeless and classic.
Me and the guys who have worked on this ball together, this is probably like the fifth of sixth iteration of sampling of this ball that we went through on this but eventually what we did is use our DNA and our legacy. Last year was the 25th anniversary of STAPLE, so STAPLE has a legacy of it’s own now too, we have a color palette, a logo and everything so by applying that to the classic Wilson ball and letting Wilson do what they do best, which is make an incredible performance item, I’m hoping we made something timeless and classic and that 20 years from now people will still have this – hopefully they’re still using it on their driveway or on the court and it becomes an artifact of the culture.
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY WHEN IT COMES TO COLLABORATIONS? WHY DO YOU DO THEM AND WHAT VALUE DO THEY PROVIDE?
Sarah Houseknecht: We’ve partnered with a ton of brands, but it’s not about just partnering with anybody. We’re really thoughtful and selectful and a lot of it has to do with which sport we’re talking about; you might have seen our Kith collaboration that was very intentional in the tennis space, we’ve partnered with Tiffany, OVO, Luis Vuitton. Our NBA and WNBA partnership has opened up a lot of doors for us to choose collaboration partners.
We came back to being the Official Ball of the NBA in the 75th season and the for the WNBA is it was their 25th season, so it was a really cool milestone. Since then it’s been a flood of partners that have been looking to partner with Wilson, but we’re looking to find the right brands for us and STAPLE was definitely that. We’re mindful of creating something that has a unique intersection – it’s two brands coming together and where is that crossover and being intentional with that so we’re not just making more things, but making things that really unlock new potential for both brands.
Jeff Staple: We just dropped this NBA-wide collaboration, and I know we look like geniuses for timing this together with Wilson, but it’s not – good luck happens when you work hard, you start to look magical. But in the same season doing something with the NBA and Wilson is crazy. And the fact that now, because we work together, my brand now being part of that legacy of that deep, deep history with the league is wild. So, NBA, Wilson, ball is life!