Above The Rim® Re-Launches, Helping Players Rise Both On and Off the Court

Legendary Performance Basketball Brand Focuses on Elevating Players

Oct 27, 2010, 08:00 ET from Collective Brands, Inc.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Collective Licensing International, LLC (CLI) today announced the official re-launch of the Above The Rim® (ATR) brand,  targeting young, talented players and defined by a compelling new brand message: Elevate Your Game.  Elevate Your Team.  Elevate Yourself. Above The Rim.™  The formal launch will be marked by an exciting New York City industry event on Thursday, October 28 leading up to the NBA kick-off week festivities.

ATR® emerges with a top-to-bottom realignment of the brand's long-term strategy built upon elevating individual players and helping them "RISE" on-and-off court.  Over the past nine months, CLI has assembled a team of the basketball industry's most talented brand marketers, product designers and local ambassadors to introduce a new brand identity and products that pay homage to ATR's rich heritage, while capturing the brand's new place in the future of basketball.  The foundation of this new brand image is ATR's grassroots program designed to support and impact communities on a local level. Launching now at retail, ATR is an aspirational and accessible brand of basketball footwear and apparel that performs for players from the professional to the street level.

"We've taken this iconic brand and found a sense of freshness in product and a meaningful marketing direction that is unique to basketball," said Bruce Pettet, President and CEO at Collective Licensing International. "The product positioning is on point and ATR is well positioned to become part of the basketball conversation and reestablish its niche for the long term."

ATR has committed to supporting a roster of rising NBA players who demonstrate relentless commitment to their game, their teams and their communities. ATR has announced two such appointments, Martell Webster of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Will Bynum of the Detroit Pistons. Webster is featured in the first ATR advertising campaign and will debut his signature ATR shoe, the Elevate MW5™ for Spring 2011. The Elevate MW5 will be the centerpiece of the Spring footwear collection, and has been designed to exhibit the same strength, speed, and agility Webster displays on the court. Will Bynum partnered with the brand in October 2010 and like Webster, will serve as on-and-off court ATR ambassador in community, retail and social media programs.  ATR expects to announce additional players to its roster during the upcoming season.

A.T.R. Project ™

In conjunction with the brand's re-launch, ATR is proud to announce the formal launch of its community-based grant program, the A.T.R. Project Assisting the Rise™.  Each season, ATR will identify and support a growing group of young community leaders from across the United States who are dedicated to mentoring and assisting the individual rise of young players in their communities. Through the A.T.R. Project, selected ambassadors, who may be coaches, after school program leaders or community leaders, will be given the support and funding from ATR to supply tools and resources to assist the youth they support.  These funds may be used for a variety of enrichment purposes such as provisions, equipment, laptops or transportation, all intended to help elevate the personal performance of the young players they support in their local communities.  The program encourages youth to rise to challenges on the court, in the classroom and in their communities. The A.T.R. Project, which will launch in three key U.S. markets next month, will support an inaugural group of ambassadors that includes: Charles "Chuck" Torres of Los Angeles, CA; Tavio Hobson of Seattle, WA; and Bernard Bowen of the Bronx, New York.  

ATR Product

ATR will launch with a limited basketball footwear collection available now at Payless ShoeSource, one of the brands key retail partners.  This initial collection will include three key styles, the Pivot, Crosscourt and Rise.  The ATR brand at Payless will continue with an expanded line in Spring 2011 and beyond.

In addition, ATR will launch a full scale, premium basketball footwear and apparel collection geared toward specialty retail, department store and better sporting goods channel for Spring 2011. The Spring footwear collection will be highlighted by the first signature ATR style created for Martell Webster, the Elevate MW5. Available in four colorways, the Elevate MW5 was designed to optimize flexibility and movement via its  V33 Technology™ in its outsole.  ATR's V-Grasp Technology™ will provide enhanced midfoot support and a lightweight, compression molded EVA midsole creates superior cushioning.

The ATR apparel collection, which will also debut in Spring 2011, will include an innovative mix of core performance and versatile street looks.  The line will include performance shorts, pants, and tops in a variety of lightweight, breathable materials and fresh silhouettes and colors. For transition and casual wear, ATR will offer a range of off-court pieces including graphic t-shirts and hoodies that capture the brand's unique messaging and point of view.

Above The Rim History

Originally launched in 1989 by a former Division I college basketball player in San Diego, CA, Above The Rim took the basketball apparel market by storm with a fresh, unique look characterized by baggier short and tops designed to make taking jump shots easier. The brand became hugely popular with all levels of players including NBA, college, high school and street ball players, eventually selling to a major athletic footwear company in 1992. The brand launched its first footwear collection the same year and eventually aligned with major NBA talent, catapulting the brand's popularity.  Today, Above The Rim is re-launching with a fresh identity and product direction, robust cause and athlete platforms and the support of an integrated marketing campaign including newly launched web site, social media channels and advertising campaign.

About Collective Licensing International, LLC.

Collective Licensing International, LLC, a subsidiary of Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS), was formed in January 2004 and is the owner and/or license operator of Airwalk®, Above The Rim®, Vision Street Wear®, Clinch Gear™, STRIKEFORCE™, Sims®, Lamar® and LTD®, World Snowboarding Championships™ and Hind®.  Collective Licensing International is based in Englewood, Colorado.  www.collectiveintl.com

About Collective Brands, Inc.

Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS) is a leader in bringing compelling lifestyle, fashion and performance brands for footwear and related accessories to consumers worldwide.   The company operates three strategic units covering a powerful brand portfolio, as well as multiple price points and selling channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce and licensing.  Collective Brands, Inc. includes Payless ShoeSource, focused on democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories through its nearly 4,500-store retail chain, with its brands Airwalk®, Dexter®, Champion® and designer collections Lela Rose for Payless, Christian Siriano for Payless and Isabel Toledo for Payless, among others;  Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group, focused on lifestyle and performance branded footwear sold primarily through wholesale and retail, with brands including Stride Rite®, Keds®, Sperry Top-Sider®,  and Saucony®; and Collective Licensing International, the brand development, management and global licensing unit, with such youth lifestyle brands as Airwalk®, Vision Street Wear®, Sims®, Lamar® and LTD®.  Information about, and links for shopping on, each of the Collective Brand's units can be found at www.collectivebrands.com.

SOURCE Collective Brands, Inc.