|Wednesday, May 15
Webber puts his best foot forward for shoe company
By Darren Rovell
The Sacramento Kings' march to the NBA Finals could give one up-and-coming shoemaker the shot it needs to make it big.
That's just in time for the NBA Finals, provided the Kings can get past the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA's Western Conference Finals.
On June 1, Dada will release a limited edition of 1,000 pairs of the chrome shoes that Webber wore at the All-Star game. "We had so many calls about the shoes after that game that we had to do something," said Lavetta Willis, CEO of Dada Footwear.
The shoes, which will sell for $125, are numbered and come in an embroidered, velvet bag. Each box will contain a certificate redeemable for an autographed photo of Webber. Tags on the shoes will warn that the shoes are collectibles and not recommended for daily use. Since the shoes are made with real metal fragments, they have a tendency to crease with wear.
"We actually designed Chris' all chrome shoe by mistake," said Lantz Simpson, creative director for the company. "In Taiwan, they couldn't make one strip to go on the shoe, so I just said, 'make it all chrome.' "
The performance sneaker, the CDUBBZ, will have one strip of chrome on the back quarter of the shoe. It will retail for $74.99.
Webber severed his deal with Nike because he thought the $140 retail price for his "CWebb" shoes was too high for his young fans. Webber also has endorsed Fila, which terminated its deal after Webber violated a conduct clause when he was fined in August 1998 for concealing marijuana in his carry-on baggage at an airport in Puerto Rico.
Webber's Dada apparel line will debut with another Webber shoe, the C4, on Nov. 1.
NBA stings Hornets for relocation
The Grizzlies were assessed a relocation fee of about $30 million last year.
Despite the fee, Hornets co-owner Ray Wooldridge said he believes the team can turn a profit in its first season in the Big Easy. "If you spread the relocation fee over our 10-year lease period, we can make a profit this upcoming year," Wooldridge told ESPN.com.
Wooldridge said the Hornets lost about $15 million each of the past two seasons in Charlotte.
Proceedings continued in U.S. District Court in New York on Wednesday between Penthouse and Judith Soltesz-Benetton, whose topless photos appeared in the magazine's most recent issue and were advertised as Russian tennis star Anna Kournikova. Soltesz-Benetton, who is married to the son of billionaire fashion designer Luciano Benetton, and Kournikova's representatives filed separate lawsuits against the magazine last week, each seeking more than $10 million in damages.
Kournikova is the most-searched athlete on the Internet, but the suit is also increasing the visibility of Soltesz-Benetton, a U.S. citizen who now lives in Italy. Requests for Soltesz-Benetton on search engine Google.com this past week increased by 118 percent, site spokesperson Eileen Rodriguez said.
Whatever isn't nailed down
Honoring thy father
Fila now has three of the world's top 10 the ranked women tennis players as endorsers. Kim Clijsters, who ranks third on the WTA Sanex Tour, will join current No. 2 Jennifer Capriati and No. 9 Jelena Dokic in Fila's growing stable of tennis stars. Clijsters will wear Fila women's performance tennis collection apparel and Reformation shoes.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.