Starbury Hill

Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham

I went out and bought a pair of Starburys last week.

Yes, I know, this is breaking news, for sure.

But really, it is significant – if you know the backstory to Starburys.

The basketball shoes are being hawked by New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury as the alternative to high-priced sneakers that have actually gotten some kids killed – as hard as it might be to hear that and then try to comprehend it.

I mean, it doesn’t seem to stand to reason to me that killing somebody over their $150 kicks so that I can get them and wear them to school the next day makes sense, but that’s where we are in our post-commonsense culture these days.

Starburys would never get anybody killed – though as stylish and hearty as your average pair of Nikes or Reeboks, they go for $14.98 a pair, or to put it a different way, easy-to-ask-mom-for-or-make-some-money-doing-some-chores kind of greenbacks.

This is Marbury’s goal with Starburys – to make it so that kids don’t have to pine for expensive shoes when they can get the good stuff for a tenth of the inflated price of the other ones.

And for what it’s worth, I want to support him in seeing that goal come to fruition.

I mean, when you hear that it only costs $6 or $7 a pair to actually make quality basketball shoes, it has to make you wonder …

Where does the rest of that money go?

And here’s the thing – the big boys still only make $9 or $10 a pair in profit from the sale of a single pair of their shoes – which means that an awful lot of money is being spent on paying the celebrity endorsers and the people who come up with the cool TV commercials and then the broadcast networks that air them.

I wish I could get kids who so desperately want to wear the same shoes as LeBron or Kobe or AI or ‘Melo that they’re spending $6 or $7 on shoes and $30 or $40 to have ‘Bron or Kobe or Iverson or Anthony to sell them to them and another $40 or $50 to the NBA and its corporate sponsors to provide the advertising platform that they need to create their own demand.

That’s Marbury’s mission – and I’m backing him with my Benjamins, er, my George Washingtons.

I like the pair that I got last week so much that I’m thinking about adding another couple of pairs to my personal collection.

I think that’s called voting with your feet.

Stephon gets two votes from mine.

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.


The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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