April 4, 2007


Parents stand up and cheer as a $15 sneaker enters the game: An NBA star knows many families can't foot a $200 bill for high-end shoes, so he's created his own signature line (Erika Hayasaki, April 4, 2007, LA Times)

Waiting in a winding line for autographs from his favorite NBA player, 15-year-old Brian Cox lifted the lid of a shoebox to show off his synthetic leather high-top sneakers with black sides and blue-and-orange soles.

At a price his mother doesn't mind -- $14.98 -- he got his fourth pair of Starburys this week, a sneaker created by New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury. Joanne Cox brought her two teenage sons to Steve & Barry's University Sportswear after church Sunday for the launch of Marbury's spring line.

The NBA star "grew up in a poor neighborhood just like we did," said Cox, who is raising the boys on her own. She says it is not easy on the wages she earns as a city traffic officer, and she has spent thousands on her sons' shoes over the years. "Now that we got a price of $15, we're not going higher than that."

This is the world the 10-year NBA veteran is trying to change with his $15 shoes -- a world where parents are pressured to shell out money for expensive sneakers while struggling to pay rent and buy groceries; a world where kids get robbed, shot and strangled over the latest styles. (In January, 10 Detroit middle school students were robbed of their Nike boots and Air Force One sneakers at gunpoint.)

Marbury knows it will take a while to pull off a Michael Jordan impact at a Wal-Mart price. So far, he says, he's willing to do it one sneaker-crazed teen at a time. Starburys have been holding their own in schools and on basketball courts alongside kicks that cost 10 times as much.

Marbury is so confident of the sturdiness of his shoes that he is wearing them on the court this season.

The NBA generally seems head back to the level of contempt it was held in around 1977, but that's an extraordinarily decent thing he's doing.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 4, 2007 8:03 AM

And others should do it everywhere.

We need a $15 college education (Phoenix suffices - ironic that an arch liberal destroys the liberal education myth)

a $15 K-12 education (only an idiot thinks that $10k/kid/year is buying you anything)

a $15 car...

etc etc etc

Utopia will be reached with a $15 bureaucracy.

Posted by: Bruno at April 4, 2007 8:25 AM

The NBA now is bigger than at anytime in its history. More fans in seats, more TV revenues, more global appeal. Sorry OJ - but baseball is the one sport about to fall behind the NBA.

Posted by: BJW at April 4, 2007 9:35 AM

Vicious playground taunting for the "poor boy" shoes starting in 4....3...2...

Posted by: JR at April 4, 2007 9:43 AM

His actions are the best thing about the Knicks, because it sure ain't their coach.

Posted by: pchuck at April 4, 2007 9:49 AM


3 Turnovers a game is pretty generous.

In all seriousness, the market was screaming for this and he was the perfect guy to do it, a 2nd tier star in a major market with a lot of street cred. Kudos to Marbury or his handlers for recognizing this and taking advantage of it.

Posted by: jeff at April 4, 2007 10:33 AM

"If only he were that generous on the court"

You're kidding right.

I wonder how much money they had to pay him to punish thousands of poor kids who will suffer bruising foot injuries and limps for the rest of their lives because of cheap parents.

Posted by: h-man at April 4, 2007 11:01 AM

It's not the NBA that is headed back to a 1970's level of contempt. It's just the Celtics.

Posted by: Brandon at April 4, 2007 11:02 AM

Yeah. Baseball needs to thug it up if it wants to compete for NBA fan dollars. (Then again, Lou Pinella's back.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 4, 2007 11:15 AM

Dancing With the Stars gets better ratings than the NBA finals. The league is successful but nothing like it was 20 years ago. I haven't watched a game in 7 years and I used to watch quite often.

Posted by: Patrick H at April 4, 2007 11:42 AM

Here's a question for everyone here older than me (which might be everyone):
In the early days of the NBA, were the last 5 minutes of game time drawn out to last an hour of real time, because of fouls, and did the networks take advantage of these constant breaks in play by showing commercials?

Posted by: Jorge at April 4, 2007 4:50 PM

"The NBA generally seems head[ed] back to the level of contempt it was held in around 1977..."

Wait a minute. In 1977 the Portland Trailblazers won it all. That was the high point of NBA history.

Posted by: at April 4, 2007 5:06 PM

"The NBA generally seems head[ed] back to the level of contempt it was held in around 1977..."

Wait a minute. In 1977 the Portland Trailblazers won it all. That was the high point of NBA history.

Posted by: Brad at April 4, 2007 5:12 PM