(From Dan Barbossa, TODAY Associate Producer)
I remember growing up playing basketball and wearing converse all-stars, no joke! They had zero ankle support and barely any sole on them, but hey if they were good enough for my hero at the time Pistol Pete Maravich when he was my age then they were good enough for me.
Times are different today of course, I have sold out since then and purchased my share of Jordan's, I mean they were cool and still are cool and everyone was wearing them. Sure my mom was a little apprehensive about buying me a pair of $120 sneakers when I was 14 and would grow out of them in a year, but hey she wanted to make her first born (and favorite) son happy. I mean what mother wouldn't.
This brings me to the story we did today on Stephon Marbury's line of shoes and clothing, Starbury. WATCH VIDEO His new Starbury II shoes came out on April 1st and cost $14.98. Yes $14.98. Now let's just take a moment and compare that price to "hot" basketball sneakers available in stores now:
-The latest Air Jordans, the XX2, retail for $175.
-Allen Iverson's Reebok Answer X Pump Basketball Shoe runs $124.99.
-Lebron James' The Zoom Lebron IV from Nike costs $99.99.
-Carmelo Anthony's shoes, the Jordan Melo M3 cost $115 and
Converse has Dwayne Wade's, Wade 2.0 that go for $99.99.
So what makes the Starbury II's much cheaper than these brands? Is it the quality? No, cut down the middle they are all essentially the same shoe and the shoe has credibility as Stephon wears the shoes in all the games he plays in. Well then what can it be, because it just sounds too good to be true right?
Is it greed? Is it the fact that parents will pay over $100 for a pair of their child's favorite basketball players' shoes? I don't have an answer for you.
What's special about the Starbury shoe line to me is that ANYONE can buy them. I mean a kid who gets an allowance or has an after school job can afford to buy the shoes themselves without their parents help. It's a social movement that is giving kids a quality product, endorsed by a guy who knows how hard it can be for a parent to get a kid those pair of shoes that he/she wants.
To quote the basketball analyst Dick Vitale, who when asked about the NCAA March Madness tournament why there were so many upsets, "Parity, Parity, Parity."
This shoe and the how it so accessible to everyone hopefully will bring parity to the basketball sneaker niche, where even a Cinderella can have a "cool" quality shoe for a reasonable price.