Converse's "Loaded Weapon"

In the fall of 2003, Converse launched its "Loaded Weapon" basketball sneaker, an updated version of the "Weapon," which Magic Johnson and Larry Bird made famous in the 1980s. The company had terrible timing: shortly before the shoe's launch, Baylor University basketball star Patrick Dennehy died after being shot by a teammate.

During 2003 and 2002, NBA players Jayson Williams, Gilbert Arenas, and Allen Iverson all faced weapons-related charges. Soon after the "Loaded Weapon" hit stores, some African-American history scholars cried foul. Converse stuck by its decision, and released a statement claiming, "This is merely the name of a shoe."

By Ben Toren @FortuneMagazine - Last updated July 20 2012: 1:00 PM ET
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