words & images // Nick DePaula:
Sometimes in life, things don’t go as planned. When the 2004 US Men’s National Team fell short of reaching the Gold Medal game at the Athens Summer Olympics, a first in the team’s pro-roster history, Allen Iverson didn’t waver in his pride to represent his country, or in his duty to make sure the team finished out the Olympics strong.
“If you don’t get it done the way you expected to, I think it’s important that you get it done the best way you can,” Iverson then told Adrian Wojnarowski in Athens. “It’s important that we come out and fight, and get the people proud of us back home.”
While the team may have unceremoniously returned to the states with a Bronze Medal, Iverson was still proud to play in his first and only Olympics, oft-donning custom patriotic editions of the arm sleeve and du-rag accessories we’d come to know him for.
“It’s an honor to be named to this team,” Iverson continued. “It’s something that you should cherish for the rest of your life. And honestly, this is something that I will cherish, even without winning a gold medal. I feel like a special basketball player to make it to a team like this.”
Had the team made it to the final game of the 2004 Olympic tournament, Reebok most certainly would have released a special Gold Medal edition of the Question 2 sneaker that Iverson was wearing in Greece. That launch, of course, never came.
Over the years, as the brand looked to celebrate moments and memories throughout Allen’s career, this sample edition of Iverson’s very first shoe, the Question, was created with the summer of 2004 in mind. With a more vivid blue hued upper, his Olympic jersey #4 along the heel and flag-inspired stripes covering the midfoot’s Hexalite window, the sample took on a look unlike any other Question before it.
Throughout the footwear process at all brands, decisions are often to made to scrap products for a variety of reasons. As you can imagine, the reason this shoe never made it to retail is pretty straightforward — celebrating the US team’s 3rd place Olympic finish in 2004 was ultimately deemed not aspirational enough.
Check out the unreleased “Bronze Medal” Reebok Question sample below, and stay tuned for more exclusive looks at unseen Questions all weekend long.