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 FLUSHING, N.Y., Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Reebok International Ltd. (NYSE: RBK) and tennis great Jimmy Connors today announced a marketing partnership which will focus on the junior segment of the tennis market.
 Beginning in 1994, Connors will serve as spokesman for Reebok's Hard Court collection of tennis footwear and apparel and will be involved in a variety of marketing activities, including grassroots programs designed to further the growth of junior tennis.
 According to Duncan Finigan, tennis category director for Reebok, Hard Court is a tennis footwear and apparel category established by Reebok that addresses the needs of today's younger players. "The new generation of competitive tennis players is bringing a fresh approach to the sport," Finigan said. "Their style is aggressive and all-out. Kids are hitting with open stance forehands and focusing on speed and power. Practice sessions are intense and demanding. Fast serves, blistering returns and diving to the court to return shots are common," she said.
 "In Jimmy Connors, Reebok has identified the tennis personality who epitomizes the Hard Court style of play and attitude," Finigan said. "Throughout his career, Jimmy has displayed a tenacity and style of competitiveness that broke traditional tennis standards. Junior tennis players, their coaches and retailers have told us Jimmy Connors is the ideal person to communicate the Hard Court message in the 1990s," Finigan said.
 Reebok and Jimmy Connors will work together on a number of marketing and promotional programs to stimulate interest in tennis among young people in the U.S. and throughout the world. Programs under development include Hard Court junior development tennis camps and tournaments. These new Hard Court programs will build upon Reebok's well-established and highly successful junior tennis programs, including the Reebok Urban Youth Tennis Academy and the Michael Chang Challenge.
 The Reebok Urban Youth Tennis Academy provides talented, financially disadvantaged inner-city youth in New York and Washington, D.C. with year-long tennis scholarships. Many academy participants have gone on to earn college scholarships. The Chang Challenge is open to boys and girls age 16 and under and is designed to increase participation and improve the standard of junior tennis in the Asia/Pacific region.
 In addition to these grassroots programs, Connors will appear in Reebok Hard Court television commercials and print advertising. Point-of-sale materials and footwear and apparel hang tags will further promote his association with Reebok's Hard Court footwear and apparel collection.
 With an all-time record 109 career singles titles won on five continents in 15 countries, Jimmy Connors is tennis' global champion. In a professional career spanning three decades, Connors has won eight Grand Slam championships. From 1974-78, Connors finished each year as the world's top ranked player. He was ranked Number One for 268 weeks and his streak of 160 consecutive weeks as the world's top ranked player is the longest in the history of the ATP computer.
 The U.S. Open has been a showcase for Jimmy Connors' talents and competitive drive. Connors owns five U.S. Open titles and is the only player to win the tournament on three different surfaces (grass, clay and hardcourt). He reached the quarterfinals or better in 17 of 18 years played from 1973-89 and in 1991.
 "Jimmy Connors exemplified the spirit of Hard Court tennis throughout the 1970's and 1980's," said Finigan. "At the 1991 U.S. Open when he reached the semifinals coming back from a wrist injury, he further elevated his stature before today's younger players and gave new meaning to the words tenacity and commitment.
 "We believe the Reebok Hard Court program will extend the Jimmy Connors tennis legacy to a new generation of tennis players and make significant contributions to the continued growth of the sport," Finigan said.
 Reebok International Ltd., headquartered in Stoughton, Mass., is a leading worldwide designer, marketer and distributor of sports, fitness and casual footwear and apparel. Principal operating units include the Reebok Division, Avia Group International, Inc. and the Rockport Company, Inc. Sales for 1992 totaled approximately $3.022 billion.
 -0- 8/30/93
 /CONTACT: Dave Fogelson of Reebok International, 617-341-5000/

CO: Reebok International Ltd. ST: New York, Massachusetts IN: TEX SU:

DJ-CM -- NE007 -- 7119 08/30/93 13:36 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 30, 1993

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