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Episode 785: The Starbury

Stephon Marbury wears a pair of his Starbury sneakers on the Coney Island boardwalk.
Kenny Malone
/
NPR
Stephon Marbury wears a pair of his Starbury sneakers on the Coney Island boardwalk.

This episode originally ran in 2017.

When Stephon Marbury was eight years old, the Nike Air Jordan sneakers came out. These were basketball shoes endorsed by Michael Jordan, one of the greatest NBA players of all time. Stephon, like lots of other kids, wanted them. But the shoes were pricey. So pricey, his mother couldn't afford them. For years after this, he wondered whether there was a different way to sell quality basketball sneakers.

Two decades later, he got a chance to try another way. When he was an NBA All-Star, Marbury was approached by clothing company Steve & Barry's. They had a crazy idea for a sneaker, and they thought Marbury might be just the celebrity to get behind it.

Today on the show: The story of what happened when an athlete used his name to make a shoe as cheap as possible.

Music: "When The Lights Come On," "Blammo," "Money Never Change Us," and "Get It Get It."

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Kenny Malone hails from Meadville, PA where the zipper was invented, where Clark Gable’s mother is buried and where, in 2007, a wrecking ball broke free from a construction site, rolled down North Main Street and somehow wound up inside the trunk of a Ford Taurus sitting at a red light.
Kenny Malone
Kenny Malone is a correspondent for NPR's Planet Money podcast. Before that, he was a reporter for WNYC's Only Human podcast. Before that, he was a reporter for Miami's WLRN. And before that, he was a reporter for his friend T.C.'s homemade newspaper, Neighborhood News.
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