June 23, 2085
NIKE, ORE–Speaking via satellite from the sleek public hearing room in Nike Town Hall, Nike’s visionary founder Philip Knight announced today the availability of a line of bioengineered athletic wear derived from the company’s most popular athletes. “I’m very excited today to introduce you to a revolution,” exclaimed Knight, modeling the company’s new Bio Jordan sneakers. “I am wearing Jordan’s feet. His living, breathing feet. And now you can too.”
The sneakers, grown in Nike’s factories using a proprietary process, have the look and feel of basketball legend Michael Jordan’s bare feet. Built around a special osopolymer frame, the shoes are covered inside and out by flesh genetically derived from Jordan himself. The inside of each shoe, lined also with warm, living skin, offers a snug, toe-sock style fit for maximum control and maneuverability on the court. Specially designed muscalature, sensitive to the pressure of the wearer’s foot, flexes to enhance and amplify performance. The largely biological components of the sneakers can sustain themselves for up to a year on time-release nutrients stored in the shoe’s hollow frame. Cuts, abrasions, and bruises heal naturally, with minimal scarring to ensure an unscuffed, like-new appearance for the life of the shoes.
“Nothing in the world compares to what I am feeling now,” marveled Knight, putting the new shoes through their paces on the Town Hall’s central court. “And it’s not just the control, the intimacy these shoes let me maintain with the court. It’s also the warm, human link they provide to the history of the game, to its myths, its legends, its gods.”
The sneakers, branded by hairs along the ankle and heel growing in the pattern of the Nike swoosh, have drawn fire from representatives of Nike athletes worldwide concerned that Nike might exploit obscure language in its contracts permitting the production of athletic gear bearing the “derived likeness” of signed athletes. “This is a big issue for us,” notes sports agent Henry Bucket. “About 65% of all athletes work for Nike and have signed similar contracts. Negotiations for royalties and licenses related to products like this have never taken place. Nike’s reported reliance on the ‘likeness’ language can only be in bad faith.”
International labor groups further criticize Nike for labor practices and conditions associated with the new line of shoes. “We don’t know all the details, but what we have heard troubles us profoundly,” explains longtime Nike critic Ellen Rugby. “From what we understand, the production process for these shoes relies on stem cells derived from fat extracted from employees. We’ve had reports that overseas subcontractors associated with these new shoes are signing big catering contracts with high-fat fast-food producers like McDonald’s and Taco Bell. Vulnerable overseas workers are being treated like human fat farms just so Nike can feed its own greed.”
Preferring to keep the broadcast “on topic,” Knight waved off questions concerning criticism of the new shoes, saying simply that Nike was happy to “stand on its record of progressive and responsible conduct.” “I’d really like to talk to you about what the future holds for Nike,” noted Knight, who went on to model other products in the new Bio line, including Tiger Woods Biogrip golf gloves, and what Knight called “booty shorts” to be marketed under the tag line “j. lo on the down lo.”