Stephon Marbury, retired NBA player and current Chinese Basketball Association star, doesn’t have a big Nike contract. In fact, rather than peddle shoes at $300 a pop, he instead sells them through his own company called Starbury.
He fielded criticism that his shoes weren’t as attractive as Nike or as expensive as other basketball shoes. He claimed that the shoes were made in the same factories, where even the priciest shoes cost just $5.00 to make.
The high cost of basketball shoes is problematic on so many levels. First off, the pressure to buy the shoes is often felt the strongest by people who can least afford them – kids who want to emulate their idols who were able to capitalize on their basketball skills. Some have been injured or killed simply because they were wearing desirable shoes.
In recent years, Nike has tried to quell tension by implementing RSVP and raffle systems that company heads said would make sneaker purchases safer. But little, if anything, has changed. In 2013, three men in Houston shot and killed a young father during a robbery. Just hours earlier, he purchased a pair of the newly released Jordan Gama Blue 11’s for himself and his son during the Christmas holiday season. The next year, an Ohio couple got pepper sprayed during the release of the Air Jordan XI and another young man lost his life during an altercation at a similar event.
Such has been the case for other expensive shoe brands. A Virginia teen was robbed for a pair of Foamposites. Around that same time, a Chicago-area man lost his life when someone took his $1,800 pair of Air Yeezys, a brand of Nike sneakers created by hip-hop superstar Kanye West.
Source: Think Progress
Marbury is one of the few people who wants to do something about the situation. However, the fact that he wasn’t a superstar in the NBA means that, even at the dramatically lower price tag, he still can’t compete with big names. These names include Michael Jordan, who has a 55 percent market share with his Air Jordans. Athletic shoes, which are most often worn in non-athletic pursuits, are a status symbol. Marbury simply doesn’t have that status, and Americans have a history of getting ripped-off and not caring.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.