Outdoor retail powerhouse Patagonia is implementing a bold new sales strategy based on…wait for it…people not buying their merchandise.The brand recently announced a partnership with online auction house eBay that encourages both potential consumers and owners of Patagonia gear to sell and purchase used goods on the internet. They are also asking that people not buy their gear, or anything, unless they really, really need it.The partnership, part of their longstanding Common Threads Initiative, urges the use of the ‘5 R’s’: reduce, repair, recycle, reuse, and re-imagine a “world where we take only what nature can replace.” To become a member of the Patagonia exclusive shop on eBay, one must pledge their loyalty to the said R’s. They hope to achieve 50,000 pledges by the end of the year.Although this not-buying campaign may seem counter-intuitive from a sales and marketing standpoint, Patagonia has always been on the leading edge of environmental issues. As a result, the brand has become synonymous with environmentally conscious consumerism. This is just Patagonia’s latest effort to reduce the company’s—and their consumer’s—carbon footprint.This experiment in sustainable retail production is a first from a major outdoor brand, and it has the potential to cut into potential sales figures, especially since Patagonia will not profit from the resale of any of its garments or equipment. They are urging people not only to buy used Patagonia products, but also to dig out old gear from the backs of closets to sell to the next outdoor enthusiast looking for a new puffy jacket. In a down economy, and with the explosion of ‘green’ thinking in the marketplace, this could be the first in a series of dominoes.Outdoor gear hand-me-downs and pass-alongs have been around since the birth of the industry, especially with the prices of today’s top-of-the-line products. Patagonia has simply organized a place for their specific product to be purchased and sold through eBay and their own website, taking the hassle and potential risk out of selling used gear.The bottom line is this: the greenest gear is the gear that is already in circulation. People will ultimately still buy new Patagonia products given the trendiness of the brand, but will this ecologically sustainable business plan be economically unsustainable in the long run? Or will it end up winning over even more customers by proving that Patagnoia looks beyond the bottom line?
Hong Kong or ShanghaiChina has previously lost the listings of internet giants such as Alibaba and Baidu to Wall Street, but it is looking to change the situation — especially as tensions rise with the US and its own capital markets mature.Tighter US rules could push companies towards Hong Kong or Shanghai, with e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com having launched huge offerings in Hong Kong in the past year.Alibaba’s financial arm is planning a mega dual IPO in the two cities as well.China has eased listing rules over the past couple of years to encourage more domestic share issues by big Chinese tech firms, as Beijing challenges the US for global tech dominance.The push is part of the Communist Party’s strategy to develop domestic champions into global leaders in artificial intelligence, big data, and other advanced sectors.China’s largest chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SIMC), which previously delisted in the US as well, announced earlier this year it would seek a Shanghai stock listing.Topics : A growing number of Chinese companies have delisted from the US or opted for secondary, domestic listings as the world’s two superpowers butt heads over a number of issues including technology, Hong Kong and the coronavirus.Sohu.com, which is Sogou’s parent company, said in a statement on Tuesday that the purchase price will be at $9 per share.This represents a premium of approximately 56.5 percent to the closing trading price of Sogou on July 24, shortly before the company announced it had received a proposal on going private from Tencent.If the share purchase is completed, Sohu’s subsidiary Sohu.com (Search) will receive an aggregate consideration of around $1.18 billion in cash, and Sohu will no longer have any beneficial ownership interest in Sogou. The parent company of China’s vast Weibo platform and one of the country’s biggest search engines have announced plans to delist from US stock markets in deals totaling over $6 billion as relations between Washington and Beijing grow increasingly tense.Chinese search engine Sogou confirmed Tuesday it would be taken private by tech giant Tencent, in a deal that values the New York-listed firm at around $3.5 billion.The announcement comes a day after Chinese internet giant Sina Corp — which owns the country’s massive Twitter-like Weibo — said it would go private as well. Meanwhile, Sina Corp plans to cease trading on the tech-rich Nasdaq exchange — where it has traded since 2000 — after a deal valuing the firm at $2.59 billion.
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Tales of the hardwood A drive through Bryant’s neighborhood entails some landmarks that explain his ascension.Turn onto Remington road and you will find Wynnewood Valley Park, where Bryant practiced day and night by himself on an unassuming basketball court. Drive a few minutes later toward Haverford road, and you will see the Kaiserman Jewish Community Center, where Bryant frequented for pickup games. Lower Merion High School features a refurbished gym Bryant donated in 2010 worth $500,000 that showcases his retired No. 33 jersey and the Aces’ 1996 state championship trophy behind a glass case. But what makes Bryant’s name still resonate in these hallways involves stories that reveal his unmatched competitiveness, such as arriving to school to practice at 6 a.m., taking at least 1,000 shots per day and ensuring he wins every drill. Shortly after living the past seven years in Italy, Bryant spent the summer of 1991 as a sixth grader in his first season at the Sonny Hill Community Involvement League. Hill doesn’t recall Bryant’s recent contention to Sports Illustrated that he didn’t score a single basket that summer. But Hill noticed a young and scrawny Bryant appearing overwhelmed with the physical demands of the game. In subsequent years, Hill remembers stopping games to point out Bryant’s superior fundamentals with his footwork and pull-up jumpers.Once he reached eighth grade at nearby Bala Cynwd Middle School, Bryant worked out with the Lower Merion varsity team. It took Downer only five minutes before he turned to an assistant and remarked Bryant would play in the NBA someday, a path his father (Joe “Jelly Bean Bryant”) and uncle (Chubby Cox) once reached albeit without the same success. Teammates also recall Bryant making passing references into wanting to become the NBA’s best player.“I had this gauge for him where I’d say, ‘Your pool right now is being among the top 100 high school kids in the country,” Downer said. “Now your pool is 50 kids and then 25 kids. He kept meeting those checkpoints. I told him heading into his senior year, ‘I want you to become a McDonald’s All-American.’ We talked about that when he was in ninth grade.”Bryant reached that plateau, providing endless moments teammates still remember vividly. By his junior year during the 1994-95 season, Bryant had stomach flu in a regular-season game against Haverford, well before a certain idol named Michael Jordan famously played through one and scored 38 points in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals against Utah . “Kobe was throwing up before the game and he didn’t come out with us for warmups,” recalled Guy Stewart, one of Bryant’s former teammates and a current assistant at Lower Merion. “During the game, he wasn’t showing many symptoms. But I knew he felt weak. You could tell he wasn’t himself. But he got himself together and still ended up with 45 points.”During his senior season, Bryant broke his nose after diving for a loose ball and colliding with a teammate named Leo Stacy. Leading up to the Aces’ state semifinal game against rival Chester, Bryant tried on various masks to protect his tender nose. Bryant also donned a plastic mask after suffering a concussion during the 2011-12 season with the Lakers. Moments before tipoff, accounts from Downer and Bryant’s teammates describe him delivering a profanity-laced speech before throwing the mask against the wall. Bryant then led his team with 39 points in an overtime win that took the Aces to the state championship game. “He was determined if he wore the mask, he wouldn’t be able to see and breathe the same,” said Jermaine Griffin, a former Bryant teammate at Lower Merion. “Anytime you got your best player showing no fear and not letting anything hold him back, that fuels the fire for everybody.”Bryant unleashed his intensity out on high school teammates long before he did so with his current ones. He chewed out a benchwarmer in practice for taking a last-second shot in a three-on-three drill instead of passing Bryant the ball, a sequence that cost his team the game. “I could feel him glaring at me from behind. I’m trying not to look at him, but he kept saying something and sounded legitimately angry,” said Rob Schwartz, then a 5-foot-7 junior. “He kept charging me. I ran as fast as I could out of the gym and out into the hallway until I realized he wasn’t chasing me anymore.”But the Aces attribute Bryant’s intensity as crucial in the Aces’ rise from his freshman year (4-20), sophomore season (20-6), junior season (26-5, state quarterfinals) and senior season (31-3, state championship). A short time later Bryant announced, “I have decided to skip college and take my talents to the NBA.” A lasting impactMore than 18 years later, Bryant casts a looming shadow on the program.Two mosaic portraits of Bryant and the 1996 state title team permeate the Lower Merion High School hallway. A billboard-sized banner in the school’s refurbished gym titled “Bryant Gymnasium” features Bryant and his teammates hoisting the 1996 championship trophy. Lower Merion High school spokesman Doug Young, who was a senior on Bryant’s team his sophomore season, estimated he grants 10-15 informal tours to out-of-town guests eager to learn more about their favorite NBA star. That included 24-year-old Matt Starcevich, of Northwest Indiana, who coincidentally was in town to see a recent Jay-Z concert. “I was asking my friend what is there to do in Philadelphia,” Starcevich said. “He was telling me about the Rocky steps, the Phillies’ ballpark and all the stuff about American history. I was like, ‘I really don’t give a hoot about those things.’ ”Instead, he wanted to learn about Bryant. Consider the feeling mutual around here. Downer occasionally puts Bryant on speaker phone to talk to his players before a big game. Bryant has invited the team to watch his private workouts. The Aces’ coaching staff and players help out Bryant at his annual summer camp in Santa Barbara. Bryant also donates Nike uniforms and shoes to the Aces’ boys and girls basketball teams. Lower Merion fans occasionally taunt struggling Aces players with “You aren’t Kobe” chants. In the Aces’ recent win over rival Consetoga, Lower Merion boasted a fast-paced system that thrives on fast-breaks layups, swift ball movement and disciplined man-to-man defense, the same tenets the Aces adopted when Bryant played for them. “Kobe inspires us and talks to us about the culture of Lower Merion basketball,” said Aces senior Justin McFadden, who’s committed next year to Binghamton. “He always talks about how you have to play hard every minute and you have to work for your brothers. It makes you want to keep the legacy going.”Bryant’s coaches and teachers show equal passion.Downer staunchly disputed rumors former Lakers coach Phil Jackson floated a decade ago that Bryant intentionally sabotaged games at Lower Merion so he could close the game with a memorable finish.“I was upset by that. I never had the opportunity to meet Phil, and I would’ve liked to. But It was such an uneducated comment and they weren’t even true,” Downer said. “Kobe knows I have his back and vice versa.”With the Lakers trailing the Boston Celtics, 3-2, in the 2010 NBA Finals, Bryant’s English teacher, Jeanne Mastriano, left an emotional voice mail that lasted three minutes and praised his skill and resilience. The Lakers won that series in seven games, with Mastriano’s message inspiring Bryant.“I saved that message,” Mastriano recalls Bryant telling her. “I played it over and over and over again when I was getting ready for the next game.”Despite Downer saying in jest the Aces “were a Kobe Bryant ankle sprain from being an average team,” he and his players point to the team’s success following his departure as evidence the program doesn’t solely rely on Bryant’s legacy. Likewise, Young said Lower Merion followed Bryant’s instructions not to make its refurbished gym into what he called “a shrine.” The rest of the gym showcases billboard-sized photographs depicting the rest of Lower Merion’s athletic teams. Lower Merion won three consecutive Central League titles after Bryant graduated. The Aces appeared in four state championship games (2005, 2006, 2012, 2013) and won two of them (2006, 2013). Downer characterizes himself as taking a balanced approach in telling stories about Bryant’s heroics. He touts his accomplishments as teachable moments, yet tries to scale back in hopes his players feel more empowered to carve their own path.“He created a culture of winning and a culture of hard work that I saw first-hand,” Downer said. “He raised the bar with how hard you have to work. In our own, way we’ve been able to sustain that. It’s like a snowball rolling down low. You want to keep it going. When Kobe leaves, you don’t want to become tiny.”A different viewPhiladelphia hardly has shown Bryant much brotherly love, however. An informal sampling among those in and outside Lower Merion provide plenty of reasons.Lower Merion is considered a plush suburban school about 20 minutes west of Philadelphia. Bryant jumped to the NBA instead of attending a local school, such as Villanova or LaSalle. The Sixers used their No. 1 draft pick in 1996 to select Allen Iverson while the Lakers traded Vlade Divac to Charlotte to secure the rights to its 13th pick that went for Bryant. He routinely dons Yankees or Dodgers caps instead of the Phillies. When the Lakers’ played the Sixers in the 2001 NBA Finals, Bryant said he wanted “to cut their hearts out.” That prompted Sixers fans to boo him loudly when Bryant hoisted the 2002 All-Star MVP trophy in Philadelphia. He’s routinely booed in regular-season games, too. “If one of our players said, ‘I’m going to cut their hearts out,’ we’d be running up and throwing a parade for him,” said Jim Fenerty, the director of athletics for Germantown Academy, a private suburban school outside of Philadelphia. “But this is him playing for the Lakers and he’s saying this about his hometown.”Plenty of Bryant’s supporters remain frustrated with the apparent hypocrisy. “Kobe embodies everything that Philadelphia ball players want to have in their stars,” said Evan Monsky, a former Bryant teammate at Lower Merion. “He plays hurt. He’s gritty as hell. He’s not scared. He goes to the rack. He’s a winner.”That’s why there’s some sentiment inside and outside the Aces’ program that the city’s attitude relatively softened toward Bryant.He still fields boos when he plays the Sixers, but Bryant also has sparked cheers. That happened when Bryant eclipsed former teammate and adversary Shaquille O’Neal two years ago on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant received some “M-V-P” chants toward the end of the Lakers’ win last year in Philadelphia after scoring 34 points. But without Bryant’s presence with the Lakers on the latest trip, it remains to be seen how vocal the local displeasure would’ve been this time around. But as Bryant nears the tail end of his career, it’s possible the final chapters on his legacy here remains unwritten. “When you speak to him about Philadelphia you will find that he will say if not for Philadelphia, he wouldn’t be the player he is today,” Hill said. “The only way you can change more of his perception is if he becomes more involved in Philadelphia away from basketball after his career. That’s his call.” Instead, a fractured left knee has kept him sidelined on the court and away from the Lakers on their three-game trip, leaving Lower Merion without its most famous alum greeting them in the hallway and on the hardwood. “It’s disappointing. We always look forward toward seeing Kobe when he comes back into town,” Lower Merion coach Gregg Downer said. “It has to be really hard on him to be on the sidelines having all of these injury issues. He’s such a competitor that sitting on the bench is not in his DNA.”A recent trip to Philadelphia revealed Bryant’s legacy here goes beyond his physical presence. Or the myriad of Bryant’s accomplishments that includes five NBA championships, a fourth-place ranking on the NBA’s all-time scoring list and countless game-winning baskets. Or Sonny Hill, an historian of Philadelphia basketball in part because of his 46-year-old Sonny Hill Community Involvement League that has boasted several NBA stars, ranking Bryant as Philadelphia’s second best basketball player only behind Chamberlain because he broke numerous scoring records and prompted various rule changes.Lower Merion and Bryant shaped each other toward unyielding excellence. Meanwhile, the city shares a nuanced view on Bryant’s legacy. “Kobe’s regarded, justifiably so, as one of the greatest players out of Philadelphia. That in itself is greatness considering Philadelphia’s basketball history,” said Hill, who’s also an executive advisor for the 76ers. “People in Philadelphia will always recognize his greatness. But they will identify the fact he’s not playing for Philadelphia and will see it from that point of view.” PHILADELPHIA — This should’ve marked the time when Kobe Bryant would stroll into his hometown and revisit the foundation that spurred his greatness.He would’ve spent the Lakers’ day off Thursday stopping at Lower Merion, a suburban high school just outside Philadelphia which he led to a state championship title in 1996 (its first in 53 years) and broke Wilt Chamberlain’s Southeastern Pennsylvania high school scoring record (2,883 to 2,252). Bryant would’ve given the current Aces a pep talk. Or perhaps Bryant would’ve stayed silent, as observers noticed last year, because of his want not to disrupt practice. Bryant would’ve worked out at the school’s old practice gym before grabbing a cheesesteak at Larry’s (with ketchup, no onions or cheese) or a pepperoni pizza at Bella Italia Pizza (which showcases an autographed Bryant picture frame among various Italian soccer memorabilia), two food joints that reside only a few minutes away from Lower Merion and Bryant’s old neighborhood in Wynnewood, Pa. Or perhaps he would’ve stayed strict to his recently revamped diet to maintain longevity. Bryant then would’ve taken court when the Lakers (17-32) visit the Philadelphia 76ers (15-35) Friday night at Wells Fargo Center, where the Sixers fans would boo him. Memories remain fresh here of Bryant joining the Lakers shortly after graduating from high school and his subsequent clashes with the Sixers, most notably in the 2001 NBA Finals.
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