Now that Joakim Noah has moved on to adidas, sneaker industry watchers are again asking “What’s next?” for Le Coq Sportif. Actually, they’re probably still asking “Who and what is Le Coq Sportif?”
It was founded in 1882 by entrepreneur Émile Camuset as a tiny hosiery in Romilly-sur-Seine, France. Camuset, being the sports nut he was, soon branched his business into sports jersey manufacture and, later, athletic goods including footwear.
Ok, the name. Various language translation engines pin the name as any combination of “The Cock Sports,” “The Rooster Sports,” and “The Sports Cockerel.” But by any tag, the brand’s name champions the Gallic rooster, a national symbol in France for its ability to ring in each day at dawn with victorious crowing that signifies good overcoming evil. So goes lore, anyway.
As Le Coq Sportif’s reputation for quality athletic gear spread countrywide and its products saw time in Olympic competition, the brand itself became renowned around the world. Soon, athletes throughout the sports spectrum were bearing the triangle rooster logo and historic moments started being made. In 1939, LCS debuts the sweat suit. They begin supplying jerseys to the Tour de France in 1951. Arthur Ashe wins Wimbledon in 1975 wearing LCS gear, followed by Yannick Noah rocking the rooster logo to take the 1983 French Open. Maradona carries on the LCS tradition in 1986, driving in both goals in a stunning 2-1 quarterfinal win over England. After another run of success in soccer and tennis throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Yannick Noah’s son and Chicago Bulls center Joakim inks a six-year contract in 2007 to endorse Le Coq Sportif with a line of basketball footwear and apparel.
In 2010, Le Coq Sportif cut the ribbon on a brand new research center in the seat of its birth and just last year signed up as official jersey provider of the Tour de France, ensuring that the cockerel will continue to crow across the sporting world.