“Image is Everything” No one single tennis player has influenced sneaker culture as much as American Andre Agassi. When unleashed on the international stage, Agassi’s personal flare and Las Vegas attitude shined through his hair, clothes and shoes. With a long history with fellow American, Pete Sampras, as his main rival, the two were a perfect pairing for tennis and Nike. Sampras was the quiet and simple man, who let his racket do his talking. Agassi was the loud and boisterous showman, ready to spend the night on the town after a 4 hour match. The Ying and Yang pairing captivated audiences worldwide. Agassi’s long tennis career was filled with many ups and downs. From being the #1 player in the world to dropping to qualifier status, his last comeback was his most drastic. Struggles with personal demons, drugs and family issues, Agassi refocused, pushed himself, and changed his image. He went from party animal to husband, and from a crazy long mane to a shaved head. This second chance and refocused mentality helped him capture the career Grand Slam, an amazing feat that very few have accomplished.
Besides his accomplishments as a player, Agassi has arguably one of the strongest signature shoe lines outside of basketball. The long term partnership with Nike lasted over a decade and resulted in tennis shoes that captured everyone’s attention. Not only for vibrant colors, but for aesthetic appeal both on and off the court. Receiving a new pair of signature shoes every calendar year, Agassi’s footwear was just one of the many topics of discussion for the world. As the newest member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Agassi’s legacy and shoes will live on forever, the same way he changed the game of tennis.