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CONVERSE CHANGES RUNNING BASKETBALL SHOE NAME TO RUN 'N SLAM; COMPANY URGES OTHER ATHLETIC SHOE COMPANIES TO FOLLOW SUIT

 NORTH READING, Mass., Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Converse(R) President Gib Ford today announced the name of its new running basketball shoe has been changed to Run 'N Slam in light of recent concerns raised by various community and social groups.
 "Converse is committed to the social and athletic well-being of young people around the world and this controversy has given us a better perspective on the potential implications the names of athletic shoes might have on our youth," Ford said.
 "Converse selected the original name of Run 'N Gun for its first product entry into this completely new category of running basketball shoes because it is a common basketball term which has been used for many years and refers to a fast-breaking style of basketball play," Ford stated. "We felt the original name was appropriate for this shoe and believe that people misunderstood our intention which was to name a performance basketball shoe with the name of a specific style of play."
 The Converse Run 'N Slam shoe, the first product introduction in the newly created athletic shoe category of running basketball, was only recently introduced to athletic shoe buyers, but will not appear on store shelves until mid-July.
 "Converse has a long history of community involvement with youth groups, including basketball camp programs, stay-in-school and anti-drug programs, plus PSA's on AIDS education and awareness," Ford said. "We would never knowingly embark upon a program that would create problems among our young people, so we have immediately changed the name of our new shoe to Run 'N Slam."
 Converse endorser Kevin Johnson of the Phoenix Suns and singing sensation En Vogue appear together in the July television commercial for the new Converse running basketball shoe, Run 'N Slam. Johnson, who has an outstanding reputation for his work with underprivileged and inner city youth and who helped design the Run 'N Slam, had stated earlier he did not feel the original name "encouraged violence with inner city youth." Johnson further noted that he was "surprised by the negative reaction because I would never promote a product or compromise my position if I felt it would encourage violence among young people. However, I congratulate Converse for responding so promptly to this controversy and support the name change to Run 'N Slam."
 Converse's Ford said he had been in touch with representatives from concerned groups and that the company would continue discussions to better coordinate its extensive youth related activities. Ford further noted that as an additional show of good faith, Converse was reviewing the names of all products in the company's fall line.
 "I would further encourage other companies in the athletic shoe industry to take the same kind of socially conscious action in naming their products, which traditionally have carried aggressive names," Ford concluded.
 -0- 2/12/93
 /CONTACT: Jennifer Murray of Converse, 508-664-7521/


CO: Converse ST: Massachusetts IN: REA SU:

CH -- NE011 -- 6297 02/12/93 16:44 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 12, 1993
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