You better earn a king’s ransom to pay for the King’s latest shoe
I’ve been an avid supporter of Nike products since I can remember. You name it, I’ve had it at some point. I’ve lived through the Air Jordan phenomenon and as LeBron James begins to enter the prime years of his career his sneaker brand is beginning to take off.
Like Jordans, the LeBron X is a shoe priced out of the league of his most loyal supporters. With a sticker price of $315 (standard version is $180) Nike is sending the wrong message once again.
The inaugural Air Jordan shoe hit the sneaker shelves at $65 bucks in 1985. More than a buck a point in his epic performance against the Boston Celtics in the 1986 playoffs. There was no room for a $65 sneaker in the Glover household in 1986. The closest I came to a pair of Jordans was a pair of Nike Dunks that went for about $35 and that was the low top edition. God bless my uncle who gave me a pair of his hi-tops that he wore a handful of times. They even had that new sneaker smell.
Those Nike dunks saved my life, literally.
In the early 1990′s young African-American men were losing their lives for Air Jordans in every major city. Atlanta, Philly, New York and even Chicago where Jordan made his living. Not far from old Chicago Stadium, young men were doing what they had to do to cop the latest ‘hood trend. If that meant dealing drugs, robbing, stealing of taking a life, so be it. If you were lucky to escape with your life, the worst that happened was a roughing up and your shoes were taken. Public Enemy even spoke of the effect in Shut ‘Em Down.
There was something about Jordans that captivated us. Maybe it was the genius work that went into the unique design of the shoe. Maybe it was the street cred that came with owning a pair. I know it was the first status symbol for young African-American males in my lifetime. I saw kids in Jordans and knew damn well it wasn’t in their family’s budget. It was one of those scenarios where a kid was in tattered gear top to bottom, running on an empty stomach but his sneaks were immaculate.
And that fever still exists today.
LeBron James is to my son what Michael was to me. He’s asked for the LeBron IXs which check in at about $110 for his size and Q’s only 9 years old. He knows that Dad will kick out for him, he also knows that there are more important things than wearing $110 sneakers. I’m sure millions of parents have the same thought process but there are those who don’t.
The streets are meaner and hungrier today than they ever have been. If a kid looks like a potential come up to someone looking to make a name, he’s gonna be tested.
Parents are to blame for placing false sense in a dollar. Nike is at fault for pricing a shoe that’s more in the area of a car note than recreation footwear. These shoes are made in sweatshops and cost less than a blue-ray disc to make. Nike’s target group is the African-American community which is dealing with crime at a catatonic level in cities across the United States. African-Americans have done their part in keeping Nike in profitable. At one time Nike would sponsor different sports leagues in the inner cities but I don’t see much of that any more.
The price is too great for Phil Knight to ignore.
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