Stephon Marbury is not, at first glance, a likely cultural revolutionary. As a basketball player, he’s known as a shoot first, scowl at teammates next point guard who has worn out his welcome with three teams. Last season, he publicly feuded with future Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown. He is, in most respects, the archetype of the overpaid sports-star malcontent. But now Starbury is playing the good guy, taking aim at inner-city sneaker culture by pushing a line of $14.98 sneakers, the Starbury One, which he has promised to wear on court this season. Some doubt this will resonate much. After all, the Starbury One will rely on word of mouth instead of the kind of big-budget TV campaign that a high-priced shoe gets. And the whole idea of status symbols is they’re expensive. Nike, of course, makes a mint off $200 sneakers, backed up by artfully shot ads with superstars like LeBron James, who makes a cool $90 million endorsing the company. Nike has to recoup that money somehow, right? Who knows, though, maybe the Starbury One will become a new Chuck Taylor, powered by word of mouth. In the first week, at least, it’s created long lines at Steve and Barry’s stores.
—Posted by Brian Morrissey