Thursday, August 17, 2006

Coney Island's Finest

ESPN posted an article today talking about how Knicks PG Stephon Marbury is endorsing University Sports' new sneaker "Starbury One" which will retail at $14.98.

Now I have to admit that I've always had a soft spot for Steph. I drafted him in my keeper fantasy league and was impacted by his (at the time) successes and failures. I also am a reader of Slam (the only magazine I have a subscription to) who basically sees Steph as the quintessential Slam basketball player - from the 'hood to mainstream - still repping the 'hood. Slam would say, for better or worse, they grew up together. (See their recent 100th issue where they did just that).

That being said, I'm not naieve enough to not recognize his shortcomings. His proclamation last year of being the best PG in the league was laughable by any stretch. His media feud with Brown is childish at best. Good luck finding anyone on the Knicks who ISN'T vasty overpaid and the fact that Isaiah Thomas saw a bit of himself in him scares me. (not knocking Isaiah as a player...but he's soiled his entire rep these past few years).

So I'm no Steph backer...but that soft spot will probably always be there. And I could go anywhere with this shoe story. Is this a recent trend in the NBA to have shoe contracts that mirror on-court performance? Is it just a move from traditional shoe companies? (Damon Jones and now Shaq are repping Chinese shoes Li Ning). Is the quality that you can expect from Starbury's shoe the same quality you can expect from his game? Is AndOne dropping him and I hadn't heard of it? i.e. - was he forced to do this or is Steph intentionally providing an affordable urban alternative? (figuring they probably don't have a WalMart in the 'hood?).

Then I found this article linking me to the Starbury lineup. And it appears that it's the latter and I really kinda respect that. Whether Marbury ends up turning it on with the Knicks (under Isaiah?) or some other team or fades into obscurity, he will remain a hero to the kids in the streets of New York. And now he's reaching them in a way he never has.


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