The Legacy of Stan Smith and His Iconic Adidas Sneakers

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The story of Stan Smith and how he became synonymous with the iconic Adidas sneakers is nothing short of remarkable. The new documentary, “Who Is Stan Smith?”, delves into the life of the former tennis champ turned civil rights and AIDS activist who left a lasting impact on the world with his namesake shoes. Long before the era of Air Jordans, there were Stan Smiths. The film, directed by Danny Lee and executive produced by big names like LeBron James and Maverick Carter, sheds light on the unlikely origins of Smith’s collaboration with Adidas.

Stan Smith was not just a legendary tennis player, but also a trailblazer in activism and fashion. The documentary explores how Smith transitioned from a tennis star to a leading civil rights and AIDS activist, all while his Adidas sneakers became a fashion statement for hip hop musicians and celebrities for over five decades. Through extensive interviews with Smith, his family, and famous athletes like John McEnroe and Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels, “Who Is Stan Smith?” paints a powerful and inspiring portrait of the man behind the iconic shoe that sparked a movement.

Originally launched in 1965 and tied to French tennis player Robert Haillet, the Adidas shoe underwent a transformation when the company decided to rebrand it around a prominent American player. This is where Stan Smith came into the picture. Smith himself reflects on the serendipitous nature of the collaboration, recalling, “When I signed the contract, I thought it might be a three-year deal or a five-year deal…I was in the right place at the right time.” His partnership with Adidas not only elevated his own reputation but also cemented the shoes as a staple in American fashion and culture.

“Who Is Stan Smith?” is produced by Uninterrupted, the athlete storytelling brand within The SpringHill Company, and is associated with Calico. The documentary is supported by independent distribution company Monkey Wrench Films, ensuring a wide theatrical release. With executive producers like LeBron James, Maverick Carter, and Donald Dell on board, the film promises to be a compelling exploration of Stan Smith’s life and legacy.

The story of Stan Smith and his iconic Adidas sneakers is a tale of talent, activism, and fashion intertwining to create a lasting impact on the world. Through “Who Is Stan Smith?”, viewers are given a deeper understanding of the man behind the shoes and the cultural significance they hold. Stan Smith’s journey from tennis courts to the realms of activism and fashion is a testament to the power of sport in shaping not just individuals, but entire movements.


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