$15 kicks You can clown them all you want, but Stephon Marbury was trying

Stephon Marbury is a real one.

The Coney Island native, who not only made it out of the Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood but made it to heights that most jokers who claim to like basketball will never respect, is the subject of the latest in Spike Lee’s Lil’ Joints series. $15 Kicks, directed by Jenn Shaw, takes a look at how the former NBA point guard tried to revolutionize the shoe game that NBA legend Michael Jordan so dictatorially wrecked for generations. Full disclosure: I love Steph. And if you’ve never heard writer Frank Isola’s story about him, you need to.

“He was a superstar NBA point guard, but wanted to try to do something different and change the game,” Howard Schacter, former chief executive officer of Steve & Barry’s, the retail clothing chain that launched the shoe, said in the film. “He just didn’t believe that the price tag that kids, particularly in the inner city, were paying for shoes was fair.”

If you’re not familiar with the scorn the Starbury shoes garnered, or how this product completely realigned how people looked at Marbury on a certain level, this movie cuts right to it. When it came down to it, Marbury made people happy. I know plenty people who wouldn’t be caught dead in these shoes, but still respect why he did it. If you think income inequality in America isn’t a real thing, just ask them if they’ve ever considered buying a pair of Starburys.

The short film takes a look at all of that from a style, economics and basketball standpoint. You also get a lot of fun throwbacks, like vintage looks at ESPN sportscasters Stuart Scott and Scott Van Pelt with hair. Not to mention it barely scratches the surface of Marbury’s downright god-like status in China, which could be a whole series unto itself. The next time you get a statue built of you in any country is the first time you should make fun of Marbury.

Also, make sure you stay for the credits.

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