The Shoes of My Youth
Shoes will always be my first love. As I’ve thought more about it over the years, my love affair with footwear began at a basketball camp. I remember like yesterday the kid that had the Air Jordan V’s who won the camp MVP. Impressionable and wide-eyed, I believed that if I had Jordan’s, I’d be taking home that gold (*plastic) MVP trophy. Of course my footwear wasn’t really the issue when it came to basketball. My problem was that I was a slow, chubby kid that played too many video games instead of practicing who had the vertical of an arthritic octogenarian. But in my naive and cholesterol-ridden heart, all I needed was Jordan’s.
Upon begging my parents for months on end and making promises I surely couldn’t keep regarding my grades, yard work and overall behavior, in the 5th grade I was able to upgrade my kicks. I never looked back.
Reebok Pump Omni Lite
That’s right, my first serious sneakers were the infamous Reebok Pumps. Honestly, I thought I would be able to fucking dunk the first time I stepped on the court with these shits. The truth of the matter was that they were heavy as fucking astronaut boots and all the pump action did was make them tighten around my fat little foot. I didn’t even make the team that year and I kicked myself for not opting for the Jordan’s. Thankfully, they were faulty as hell and after a couple months the pump mechanism malfunctioned, I took them back and exchanged them for the Jordan 6′s.
*Editors note: When looking these up today I realized that these are considered the Dee Brown’s! What the fuck!?! For my first pair of big-ticket shoes, I picked the Dee Brown’s over the MJ’s! No look dunk contest win aside, I feel like I lost a piece of my childhood this morning.
Air Jordan 6
My first pair of Jordan’s. I felt like I finally made the right choice when getting into these but in actuality, I had my heart set on the black pair. When we got to the Foot Locker, all they had were white, so I pulled the trigger. Sadly, I got them dirty as hell in about a week, so I bought some kind of white cream that was suppose to clean them but was in reality a strange ass shoe paint, so I fucked them all up. Some older kid made fun of me for having the paint shit on them and I cried. Ahhh memories!
Air Jordan 7
Next up, the Jordan 7′s. Second favorite pair of shoes all time. Loved these and wore them into the ground. Seriously, I remember my parents making me throw them away years later because they smelled so bad. These were the shoes Nike did that whole Warner Bros shit and had Bugs Bunny in the commercial with MJ. The idiot kids at my school called them Hare Jordan’s and it bothered the hell out of me.
Converse Larry Johnson Back Jams
That’s right, I went rogue around 7th grade and bought the LJ’s. Don’t hate. Grandmama was a personal favorite and I think they cost less, which my parents liked. Honestly, I felt stupid in them and wished I had bought the Jordan’s or the Nike Air Huarache’s that the Fab Five wore.
Charles Barkley Air Max 2
Made the switch to the Charles Barkely’s and had mixed feeling about them. I abandoned the J’s because I was trying to give up playing guard (remember, I was a chubby kid) so I was trying to emulate a power forward, thus went with the Barkley’s. I learned that I didn’t have the courage to bang it out in the post and made the switch back to the MJ’s the next year.
Air Jordan 10
Looking back, these were the worst J’s of my childhood for actually playing basketball. The bottom’s had all his accolades listed and could’t grip the hardwood at all, which made me look even worse than I was on the court. Looking at them today, they look just like work boots. Pretty amazed they actually designed them with such little flair.
Air Jordan 11
My favorite and last pair of Jordan’s I’ve ever owned. When they released, they were impossible to find and I looked everywhere for them. Ended up finding one pair at Sears that were a whole size too big. I bought them anyway and was the only kid in school that had a pair. I felt like a king.