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The Marbury Sneaker Conundrum

Young basketball players and their parents now have a difficult choice to make. Stephon Marbury’s much-publicized ‘Starbury One’ shoe is out. The cost is a very non-prohibitive $14.95, and hey, that’s awesome. Stephon Marbury’s doing a good thing here. The cost of basketball shoes is absurd, it has been for a long time, and it’s not cool if a kid gets made fun of on the playground because he’s got a pair of Payless specials on.

I don’t spend a lot of time on playgrounds, mingling with the young ballers, so I can’t really say how these are going to be received. But kids are going to know these are $15 shoes, and let’s be honest… I don’t think shoes are seen as cool or uncool because of what player endorses them. Let’s be honest, a big part of what makes shoes hot is the price tag. No one would be murdering people over Air Jordans if they were $9.99 at Target. It just wouldn’t happen.

Maybe I’m wrong about that. I’m speculating. Like I said, I don’t spend a lot of time at Rucker, hanging out with THE PROFESSA! THE PROFESSA! or HOT SAUCE! HOT SAUCE! OHHHH, HOT SAUCE! We just don’t chill together that often. So I could be wrong about this, and I hope I am. I hope the $15 shoes are as acceptable and as hip as any other shoe.

And even if the Starbury Ones were acceptable street wear… well, you know my thoughts on Stephon Marbury the basketball player. This is not a player to be emulated. If you find yourself at a playground picking teams for a run, identify the guys wearing Starbury Ones, and get as many of them as you can on the other team, and watch a fistfight erupt before either team gets to five points, because everyone on the other team wants to shoot.

If it was me, and I couldn’t afford the Jordans or the Iversons or the Kobes… I’d hold up a liquor store, just like Raymond in White Men Can’t Jump, before I put my foot into a shoe called the “Starbury.”. And if I went to jail and did a stretch of 5 to 7 in Rikers, including countless instances of prison rape, and I got out and I needed a new pair of kicks, and the choice was the same… I’d hold up that liquor store again.

Matthew J. Darnell

32 Comments

  1. “I don’t spend a lot of time on playgrounds, mingling with the young ballers…”

    Can’t resist…but MJD (aka Michael Jackson, Deux) does spend a lot of time with young balls.

  2. I like the price of those shoes, but I can’t stand how they look. Even the $10 rack at Target has better designs than the Starbury.

  3. Those things are pretty fucking hideous. I guess the design phase took the bulk of the price cuts.

  4. uhmmmm….Is it me or do they look like Ballet-Slipper basketball shoes?Maybe appropriate if male USA figure-skater Johnny Weiss was endorsing them…I can see him leaping around now, with a ‘la cage aux follies’ outfit to match….

  5. The first thing I thought when I heard this news on Regis & Kelly (on Youtube, I don’t watch the show live) was “What the hell is Steven Berry’s?”. If they are really that great, it would be cool if you could order them on-line. Isn’t it true that the on-line S&B’s doesn’t sell them?

  6. I heard it’s gonna be the new team shoe for the Knicks. Even Coach Thomas will have ‘em.

  7. The shoes are fine in every technical sense of the word they are designed just like any other basketball shoe. Now the Knicks colors sometimes can leave something to be desired but… hey he plays for the Knicks, he has no choice but to put them in their colors. The white and carolina blue ones are really nice and the all white ones ore too. The black ones are ok and the white and navy are eehhh ok as well. He has a pair the look like low top NB or Saucony’s that are real tight.

    The only reason these young boys don’t like the shoe is because the Jordan logo or a soosh isn’t on the side. Actually the guy who designed the Jordans for 12 years designed these shoes… get out of the materialistic world and stand for soemthing.

    The author is an idiot, he wouldn’t wear them because he doesn’t like Steph and he would rather go to prison them wear them… that idiotic talk shows how much attention anyone should pay to anything he writes.

  8. Looks nicer than Shaq’s Payless shoes.
    They also look like the Nikes from a couple of years ago, with the “leather” going to the sole of the shoe.

    I agree with Mighty, the price is probably responsible for the most of the caché, but if these shoes fit well, and they are made well and you give a bunch of free shoes to blacktop stars, it might do OK.

  9. The whole concept of the price of the shoe is not only affordability, but just plain common sense. Why would anybody pay over $100 for a pair of shoes, then play in those same shoes that goes at a rate of $0.30/hour to make? On that same note, I am not going to buy a pair of shoes at a lower price that are going to hurt my feet. So if these shoes are comfortable to play in as well as affordable, then that is the smartest bang for my buck. And as far as looks, who cares, the shoes are going to get scuffed up anyway. Just like every other shoe that you play in.

  10. I bought a pair of the black on black. Quality is just as good as my $90 Nikes. I’m sure the Nikes (& all basketball shoes) cost around $1.50 to make. Much respect to Steph!

  11. Why does a new Jordan shoe cost $179, anyway?

    Jeffrey Ballinger, a labor activist and longtime Nike critic, said producing a pair of high-end sneakers costs $7 or $8. Labor in Asia costs around a dollar a pair, materials cost less than $2, the manufacturer cost is about $1, and the rest is transportation costs, Ballinger said. Foot Locker and other retailers then buy the sneakers from the shoe companies for about half the sticker price, Ballinger said.

    How do they get away with it? Marketing.

    “There’s a lot of hype in sneakers,” said Emanuel Weintraub, a management consultant to retail and apparel firms. “The guys who are buying Air Jordans aren’t playing better basketball with them.”

    So why would it make sense to spend all that loot on some sneaks? When I was in Korea in the military we used to get custom cut Nikes for $15 at the factories there. Super customized for $25 – so I am with it.

  12. I THINK WHAT STEPHONE MARBURY IS DOING IS GREAT. AS A TEEN (17) THAT BUY`S THE $150.00 DALLAR JORDANS AND THE $90.00 AIRFORCE 1`S I CAN REALLY SAY THAT THE DESIGN AND LOOK ISN’T THAT BAD!

    BUT, ON THE OTHER HAND I CAN ALSO SEE WHERE THE CONTREVERSY IN THE STREETS WILL COME. WHAT GIVES A SHOE ITS NAME IS THE PRICE TAG, NOT NECCESARILY THE DESIGN. THE RETRO JORDAN 5`s THAT WILL HIT THE STORE THE SUMMER OF 2006 ARE THE MOST UGLIEST SHOE THAT HE HAS EVER MADE, BECAUSE OF HIS OUTRAGEUS PRICE THEY WILL BE BOUT.

    BUT ALL I WANT TO DO IS GIVE STEPHONE HIS PROPS. AS ANOTHA BROTHA WHO IS REALLY GIVING BACK TO THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY. AS A YUNG MAN IS SEE`S FIT TO WERE HE IS ABLE TO CORRECT A FLAX IN OUR ECONOMY. GOOD LOOKIN.

    -THANX-

  13. The Shoe is Amaaaazing. I tried it on in a store and literally fought some guy cuz he wanted to take it from my feet cuz he saw it first so I kicked him and I’m wearing them. Turns out they’re good for kicking people too.

  14. Why are you hating so hard here. What he is doing is a good thing, whether or not he has been good person or team player is irrelevant. Whether or not he changes the way kids buy shoes is irrelevant. The point is he is trying to make a difference.

  15. Yo fam.

    If these shoes are truly NBA quality, then this is a landmark in the history of overpriced quality sneakers. I know I hated being the kid who wore Target & K-mart shoes as a kid. I know now I pay way too much for shoes that cost 10% of what I paid for them to make. It is really ridiculous. Now IF these shoes are as high-quality as everyone says they are, then I say suppoort Starbury and all that he is trying to accomplish here. I agree that Starbury isn’t the best player. Then again, I’m a Laker fan. The point is. These shoes are selling. I just called a Steve and Barry’s in my area. Sold out all over the place. Good luck to Starbury and all that he is trying to accomplish.

  16. Nike haven’t been cool for about a decade. Design is OK sometimes but the swoosh kills it. Style aficionados wouldn’t be seen dead in them but these Starbury shoes and Stephon Marbury, rock with attitude and I’d love a pair please Starbury. cefrith at hotmail dot com if you know your stuff.

  17. I was vacationing in Orlando when I saw the Starbury advertisement at the mall. I thought the sneaker price was a gimmick and I subsequently walked pass the store without further investigation. I assumed that the 14.98 price would get you one sneaker and then they would inform you that the mate was 84.99 or something like that. It is unbelievable that this sneaker exists to the public for this price. I’m still waiting for some kind of catch. Do you have to give your social security number when you purchase them =)

  18. yo this starbury’s are pretty nice the price tag is amazing..i haven’t gone to try nd get em yet but if they really are for 15$ nd the shoes fit ncie i’m defeently gettin me a pair…ima knicks fan nd i know steph’s been going threw a lotta stuff w/ brown nd everything…i think what he’s doing is a good thing nd props to him 4 the sneaker

  19. I have a lot to say about this. Marbury is doing a graceous thing here by opening up opportunity for the “ghettos” kids to wear something new and not draw themselves into negativity to afford $200 sneakers. But on the factual side, I believe he is doing this because he is stuck in a situation that he has nothing else better to do. I am a die-hard Knick Fan and he is not getting the Knicks out of the dungeons this year. All I’m trying to say, is if you struggled as kid why didn’t you think of this sooner. I might be wrong but thats my opinion. I will support his cause and purchase these sneakers for my little cuzins that want those $200 sneakers but I still think its a gimmick to get his name out of the horrific years of the Knicks to come.
    Kevin

  20. These shoes are nice, dont listen to what anyone else says. Yeah you might not be the baddest cat on the block with your $200 Air XXXIV Jordans, but are you going to play ball in those? hell no. Starbury are the best for what they are designed to, play bball, and they look alright, and have the name of a famous Bball player. And hey, they might stop these kids from being so materialistic that they commit a crime just to wear $200 shoes or $100 nike shirt. The author of this article is an idiot for saying he would go to jail because he doenst like Marbury or his shoes, that is stupid.

  21. i like these sneakers for the reason that they are a good price and for the fact that stephon had his heart to the feelin that people can’t afford these snakers and clothes if they are $200 and $300 so thank you so much and i bet ya alot of people will be buying your sneakers

    ~itajia~

  22. I love the design when i first saw them i waz like they must cost about 100 dollars but then i saw the price and i could but 3 or 4 pairs of these shoes insted of buying just 1 pair of other basketball shoes!!!in conclusion these shoes are great!!!!

  23. Sometimes idiots, who are hyped by corporate white-ass formulas of court skills-follow the leader-and put Steph down.
    A real expert Steve Nash, recently commented, that Marbury, consistently beats him in every aspect on the court.
    An observant eye, who has watch the ins and outs of the game,
    know that Steph is Starbury +.
    His career performance and tenacity on the court is renowned.
    All this “penthouse” critical buzzing about Steph’s skills doesn’t mean dudely to those who attack the rim in the street-jag,
    They know how talented Marbury is.
    And get off it with this line about him shooting too much.
    He has the lowest amount of attempted shots taken by any player, in the league for five years or more, to points scored.
    He is also the only active player in the NBA, who has more than 8 assists to 20 points per game.

    As for the shoes I haven’t got a pair yet-but I better buy them
    before Phil Knight kills somebody, other than a 13 year old pregnant Asian women !

  24. I think the shoes are great! I think that Marbury has started something big! When I saw the shoe I was shocked. They really looked nice! I think that this would be a big help to the mothers or any family that really can’t afford that $100 shoe for the kids. At least the kid can get 2 or 3 pairs! And for all the people who have negative things to say about the shoe are just hating. People always want something for nothing and always got something to say. I think that he wearing is own shoe is a point to be made in itself. WAY TO GO MARBURY!

  25. As a ball player myself, I bought the Starburys, thinking “why not try them out.. if they aren’t good quality, I lose only 15 bucks”.

    The shoes, it turns out, are pretty good quality, except the shoe could use more arch support and support in general in the forefoot area. The heel area is fine, with enough support for the ankle as well. I was surprised by the padded collar of the Starbury One, for it keeps your ankle cradled. However, the high lacing near the collar makes the shoe hard to slip on/off and I’m not a big fan of tying and re-tying shoes all the time before I ball. The styling of the shoes are good too, very clean. All in all, the shoes are quality shoes. The only drawback would be the forefoot cushioning, and with a price like 15 bucks, one can go out and buy a gel footbed insert to put in their shoes.
    SO….. quit hating. If you want to crack on some kids w/ Starburys, fine. Let’s see who’s better on the court. Don’t cry if I scuff your Jordans and I don’t care if you scuff mine, because I’ll simply purchase another pair of Starburys.
    All yall who buy Jordans for the insane price of 200 bucks are crazy. Will you ball in them? NO. If you can afford it, fine. If you can’t, don’t go pleading with your parents to get some. They’d rather feed their family than buy wack Jordans, which in my opinion.. some look like garbage. AND.. who the hell cares about those “pod inserts” for the Jordan 21′s?? What a waste of money, seriously.

    So: Will Jordans help you ball better? NO. Will buying 200 dollar shoes help you ball better? NO.

    Grow up kiddies, work on your game with hard work and practice. Don’t think pricey shoes will help you ball.

  26. AY MAN THE STARBURY, THEY HELLA GOOD SHOES I LUV EM THEY GOT A NICE DESGIN AS WELL AS QUALITY THE BLUE ONES LOKK NICE AND THE ORANGE/BLue?white ONES ARE OKAY

  27. I think that this is a wonderful thing. I love the idea. Even tho I am also not crazy about the style I believe that the practicality and the bringing back to earth the idea of values and what is really important, comfortable and affordable shoes outways any aestetic issues. I would buy 4 pairs right now online without even trying them on to support this venture but as it is, I settled for printing out the directions to my nearest store. I plan on buying some of these for my staff in the kitchen. I mean come on, these look Great and I am down like a clown.

  28. Chum! You really missed the point. The shoe is not about being cool. It’s about being real. Why spend a hundred dollars on shoes if you can’t afford food or crack?

  29. Look at it this way: if the quality is fine (no hurting feet) and the design is fine too this is the financial lifetime impact per child if you start buying them say at 14 years old: buy about one pair every 6 months or so (if you use them): spend 15 instead of 150, save 270 bucks per year. over 10 years (14y to 24y) thats 2700 bucks just for shoes. do the same on clothes maybe save the same amount, your family got about 6,000 more. difficult question: what are you gonna do with it?????

  30. I bought the black colorway of these shoes and the tan cocoa colorway of the crossover yesterday. The Starbury One is amazing because it is so light. The crossover is simple, kind of a gimmick of the low-top air force one, but it’s still nice (only $10). If you have negativity to bring about these shoes, go and check ‘em out

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