In 1993, AND1 began as a graduate school project partnership of Jay Coen Gilbert, Seth Berger, and Tom Austin while they were graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The company name is derived from a phrase used by basketball broadcasters: when a player is fouled while shooting, makes the shot and makes the awarded foul shot as well, they score the points for the made basket "and 1" for the made free throw. The brand started by selling T-shirts out of the back of a car, but caught fire right away. Early advertising strategies, used to distinguish their products from others, included other basketball slogans and trash talk, such as "Pass. Save Yourself The Embarrassment". It marketed itself towards the “ballers”, those who hone their craft on streets and always think they’re the best player on the court. The t-shirts started off in Foot Locker and within the second year of launching it reached 1,500 stores across America.
In mid of 1996, NBA star Stephon Marbury became the first spokesman for AND1. With Marbury’s signing, AND1 launched its first pair of basketball sneakers, officially expanding the brand into the footwear category. Marbury was named to the All-Rookie Team in ‘97.
In late 1998, a videotape containing streetball stunts was delivered to AND1 by Marquise Kelly, coach of the Benjamin Cardozo High school team in Queens, New York. The tape contained low quality camera moves, poor resolution and nearly indecipherable audio featuring a streetballer by the name of Rafer Alston. At the time, Alston was a student at Fresno State who had entered the 1998 NBA Draft. The videotape would soon be known as the "Skip tape", referring to Alston's streetball nickname "Skip to my Lou". Alston later signed on with AND1.
In 1999 at Haverford College in Philadelphia, AND1 shot their first series of commercials and print ads incorporating NBA players Darrell Armstrong, Rex Chapman, Ab Osondu, Raef LaFrentz, Toby Bailey, and Miles Simon. When the traditional marketing campaign proved unsuccessful, a strategy was formed to use the "Skip tape". It was edited and reprinted into 50,000 copies and over the next eight weeks, distributed across basketball camps, clinics, record labels. The tape would become the first "Mix Tape", and quickly made Alston into a celebrity. When AND1 became a product partner with FootAction, this strategy evolved into a national program.
Starting in the summer of 1999, a free AND1 Mix Tape was given with any purchase. Approximately 200,000 tapes were distributed in the span of 3 weeks, making this promotion one of the most successful in U.S. retail history. Filmmakers were then sent across the country to capture and find the next streetball legend.
Beginning with the Marbury signing and the Rafer Alston discovery two years later, AND1 began to recruit more and more NBA players to wear their product, a major power play in competing with the bigger brands, such as Nike and Adidas. Players like Latrell Sprewell, Kevin Garnett and Jamal Crawford brought AND1 into the national spotlight and helped them secure shelf space in major footwear retailers, such as Foot Locker and FootAction. By the 2001 season, AND1 was second only to Nike in market share among NBA endorsees, a big part of them soon becoming the second largest basketball brand in the United States, only eight years after their inception.
AND1 is famous for the shoe known as the Tai Chi, famously worn by Vince Carter during the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest, where he put on one of the greatest NBA Slam Dunk Contest showings of all time.
The AND1 summer tours had already been going on from 1999, but in 2002, with the release of Mixtape 3, AND1 officially expanded their annual streetball tours into the Mixtape Tour. Legendary streetballers such as “Hot Sauce” and “The Professor” would go from court to court to challenge the greatest streetballers in one-on-one’s, entertaining fans and providing much of the footage for the ensuing Mixtapes. The streetballers who prevailed through the very end of the summer tours would receive endorsement deals from AND1. From 2002 through 2008, the tours were televised live on ESPN under the name “Streetball” and competed with ESPN’s “SportsCenter” for the highest ratings. The summer tours began in America but soon branched into more than 30 countries, giving them international fame and promoting the sale of their products in 130 countries and territories.
One of the most prominent appearances of AND1’s sneakers, aside from Vince’s dunk contest, was when Detroit Piston Chauncy Billups took home the MVP honors during the 2004 NBA Finals, wearing the AND1 Rise’s. The mid-top sneakers’ clean and aggressive look matched “Mr. Big Shot” Billups’ game perfectly. In the Rises, Billups would average 21 points and 5 rebounds in the series, leading the Pistons to their first championship in 14 years and picking up the MVP award in the process.
AND1 apparel and footwear had first appeared in the digital arena on Street Hoops in 2002, but in 2006 the brand officially made its entrance into the category, partnering with UBISOFT to release its first video game, AND1 Streetball. A mobile version was also released by Gameloft. The game featured a story mode mirroring AND1’s "Streetball" series on ESPN, where players were able to create their own basketball player and enter him in the AND 1 Mix Tape Tour in order to get a contract with the AND 1 team. Along the way, players were able to create their own stylized trick moves and pull them off with a two-analog stick system called "I BALL". The games were available on both PlayStation 2 and Xbox and received positive reviews.
In 2009, AND1’s longest-tenured endorsee Rafer “Skip 2 My Lou” Alston would lead the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals versus the Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles Lakers. Skip wore the AND1 Cubics throughout the ‘09 season, all the way through the NBA finals. After another one of his high-scoring playoff games, Magic teammate Dwight Howard said this about Skip: “He wasn’t Rafer Alston [tonight], he was the playground legend ‘Skip 2 My Lou”. When he plays like the playground legend, he’s tough to guard. The Magic ultimately lost the series in five games, but Skip’s presence in the finals brought great acclaim to AND1, as his AND1 background story was covered numerous times in the papers.
Following a short hiatus, the AND1 Mixtape Tour would return in 2010, now know as the AND1 Live Streetball Tour. The tour continued to expand globally as the AND1 team toured the world, meeting success against most international teams and scoring wins over adversaries as diverse as Chile and Angola. They remaining undefeated outside the United States until they lost to the debuting Puerto Rico Streetballers in 2012.
Over the years, AND1 had switched hands a few times, first being bought out by American Sporting Goods in 2005 and subsequently sold to Brown Shoe Company in February 2011. On August 25, 2011, AND1 was sold to Galaxy Brands, a brand management company based in New York. The company later merged with Sequential Brands Group, a publicly-traded brand management company, but the personnel managing AND1 never changed. Under Sequential, AND1 has reconnected with its roots once more, signing marquee NBA players and sponsoring tournaments worldwide.
In November 2012, AND1 signed then-Pacer Lance Stephenson to an endorsement deal. Lance “Born Ready” Stephenson had won the NYC basketball championships in all four years of high school, and became New York State's all-time leading scorer in high school basketball, named Mr. New York Basketball after his senior year. He would soon sign a multi-year deal with the Indiana Pacers, with AND1 signing him during his rookie season. Born Ready fit the AND1 streetball personality with his aggressive never-back-down attitude, which was put on national display during the 2014 NBA Conference Finals. Stephenson, who had led the league in triple-doubles that year and led the Pacers past the Knicks in the round prior, was paired against Miami Heat’s Lebron James. From trash-talking to “mind games” to even blowing in James ear at one point, Lance did whatever he could to get into James’ head and under his skin.
In celebration of their 20-year anniversary, the brand hosted the AND1 Labor Day Summer Remix, a $100,000 winner-take-all basketball tournament in August 2013. The tournament took place in Temple University in Philadelphia, and also included a $10,000 dunk contest.
Paying homage to Brooklyn Streetball culture, AND1 partnered with SLAM Magazine to host numerous events surrounding the 2015 NBA All Star Game (played in the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn). Various charity events with two of New York's greatest streetball legends Lance "Born Ready" Stephenson and Rafer "Skip to My Lou" Alston were followed by the launch of an exclusive pop-up retail lounge on Flatbush Avenue across from Barclays Center.
There are currently over one hundred AND1 High School and AAU teams playing across America in various tournaments and leagues, and an AND1 circuit in the making. AND 1 is currently distributed at WalMart Stores. They overall revenue per year is approx $140m / year
The AND1 Mixtape Tour has featured streetball players of fame, including Skip to My Lou, Main Event, The Professor, Hot Sauce, Spyda, 50, and AO. AND1 players have made annual tours around America to recruit the next streetball legend. This recruiting has since been edited for airing as Street Ball on ESPN and ESPN2. It is also parodied in the movie Like Mike 2: Streetball as "Game On".
The tour was televised in half-hour "Streetball" segments on ESPN2, and were compiled into highlight reels, offered under the mark AND1 Mixtape, which were sold on DVD. AND1 has released 10 volumes. The first mixtape was AND1 Mixtape Volume 1 (1998) and the most recent is AND1 Mixtape X (2008).
Following a short hiatus, the AND1 Mixtape Tour would return in 2010, now know as the AND1 Live Streetball Tour. The AND1 team has toured the world, meeting success against most international teams and scoring wins over adversaries as diverse as Chile and Angola, remaining undefeated outside the United States until they lost to the debuting Puerto Rico Streetballers in 2012.
EA Sports' NBA Street, published in 2001, featured dunks and passes in AND1 fashion, but was licensed from the NBA. In 2002, Activision announced the first AND1 video game called Street Hoops, featuring AND1 players. Gameloft has also released a mobile game based on the AND1 franchise.