Upper Deck Unveils First-Edition Figurines of All Four 'The LeBrons' Characters Based on Nike Ads; Only 1,000 of Each Made for NBA's Youngest Ever to 1,000 Points
Jun 13, 2006

Nike to Launch Four New Shoe Styles Featuring Caricatures of Upper Deck's LeBron Figurine on Insole

MIAMI (June 13, 2006) -- Don't call LeBron James a sellout.

Unless, that is, you're speaking to the highly stylized, 12-inch urban vinyl figurine based on James' "Athlete" persona in the popular Nike ads, "The LeBrons."

In February, Upper Deck unveiled its All-Star "Athlete" LeBron sports action figure, featuring the red special-edition Nike Zoom LeBron III shoes James wore at the NBA All-Star game -- where he was named MVP. All 750 of the special sneak-peek offering to its first edition figurines sold out in less than two hours.

Now, in conjunction with the NBA Finals, Upper Deck is releasing to the public The Chosen One Edition, the first edition of all four of the popular characters from the commercials: Athlete, All-Business, Wise and Kid.

According to the company, only 1,000 figurines of each character (MSRP $45) will be made available online at AllStarVinyl.com and to hobby shops nationwide. James is the youngest player in NBA history to score 1,000 points.

"Our goal with the LeBron figurines -- our first-ever vinyl sports action figures -- was to bring into the collecting fold a new customer base, sneaker aficionados and urban vinyl collectors," said Dave Sanders, brand manager for Upper Deck Authenticated.

"From the feedback we've received so far, not only is this product a hit, but we believe we've created a new style of sports figures, a category that has traditionally lacked new ideas and innovation as well as new collectors," Sanders continued.

"By appealing to a younger, edgier sports fan we've also introduced a new core group of people to Upper Deck's total product offering, from cards to autographed memorabilia. For us, that's the biggest success story to come from this launch."

Nike Launches Kicks with LeBron Caricatures; Figurines Will be a Value-Added Packaged Extra
In addition to Upper Deck making 1,000 figurines of each character in The Chosen One set available online and to hobby shops nationwide, Nike will also offer 100 artist proofs of each of the four figurines, to be sold with four new Zoom LeBron III shoe styles featuring the four different versions of Upper Deck's LeBron figurine caricatures on their insole.

The shoes go on sale this week and are part of Nike's quick-strike brand marketing approach to sneaker heads: limited-edition sneakers sold online through NikeBasketball.com, an effort that creates an immediate sellout and an overall buzz for the company's products beyond even their dedicated brand loyalists.

"Our LeBrons figures have been a unique collaborative approach to sports collectibles. For us to take Nike's commercial characters and turn them into figures and then Nike to follow-up with shoes that feature the figure artwork really takes sneaker and sports collectibles to a whole new level of co-branding, excitement and artistic collaboration," said Sanders.

Upper Deck's Fall Urban Vinyl Launch; More on Urban Vinyl's History
Upper Deck plans to unveil All-Star Vinyl lines in different sports later this year, including football, basketball, hockey, and baseball. Preliminary sculpts have already been designed for many of today's top athletes -- as well as legends from the past.

Those athletes: Sidney Crosby, Michael Jordan, Ben Roethlisberger (November); Alexander Ovechkin, Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady (December); Babe Ruth (January).

Usually sold in boutique toy shops and through various Web sites, urban vinyl collectibles are limited-edition designer toys that are, for the most part, created by underground artists and released by independent toy manufacturers in very limited quantities.

About the Upper Deck Company
Founded in 1988, The Upper Deck Co. is a premier global sports and entertainment-publishing company that delivers a portfolio of relevant, innovative and multi-dimensional product experiences to collectors, sports and entertainment enthusiasts.


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