Ã¢â‚¬Å“Are you going to keep them or sell them?Ã¢â‚¬Â Rob, the manager at House of Hoops on 34th Street, asked me back in June as I purchased my pair of Nike Air Yeezy IIs.
I hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really thought about it. To that point, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d sold one pair of sneakers ever.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll tell you what I think you should do,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Rob, who IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve bought sneakers from for years. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Unless you really need the money, I think you should keep them. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m glad this fell into your lap. I know you love sneakers, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a good guy, you work hard, you deserve something like this.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He paused for a second while I considered his logic. He was right Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I do love sneakers, and it would be great to own a pair of Yeezys as the centerpiece of my collection. Perhaps IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d hold on to them, wear them for special occasions, a little instant credibility if IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m in an NBA locker room or something.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But if you do decide to sell them? There are guys waiting outside right now offering $800 in cash. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do that. Let me know instead. I guarantee I can get you $1,500 right now.Ã¢â‚¬Â
When I was a freshman at Duke, Alex Rodriguez showed up at a basketball game out of nowhere and sat a couple rows in front of me to watch Trajan Langdon, with whom heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d played Minor League ball. A-Rod had already had a couple of really good seasons for the Mariners, though nothing like the Bondsian numbers heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d put up a few years later. That day, he hung out with students, joked around with Dick Vitale and enjoyed the game like the rest of us.
Three years later, A-Rod signed a $250 million contract with the Rangers and steadily became warped by fame and money, destined to become an enormously talented and eccentric caricature of a superstar. Far gone were any vestiges of the kid who jumped up and down when Shane Battier took a charge.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve long been fascinated by the change that takes place when someone reaches levels of fame and wealth that most people only dream about. Does Michael Jordan ever look at pictures of himself inexplicably brandishing an umbrella in his dorm room and become a bit overwhelmed by what he has become? Or is he simply too preoccupied with cursing his imaginary adversaries, getting drunk off expensive liquors, running a terrible basketball team and wearing hideous outfits?
Over the years, Kanye West has crossed over into that rarified air. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to imagine as recently as 2007, when he went head-to-head in record sales with a seemingly more popular 50 Cent and won, Kanye was actually something of an underdog. Last Friday night, during his solo show at Revel in Atlantic City, I marveled at the superstar Kanye West has become, at the expense of a decent chunk of his previous persona and humanity.
I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t remember exactly when, but there was a point on Tuesday night while watching Jay-Z and Kanye West perform in Baltimore when I turned to my fiancÃƒÂ©e and said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve ever felt as cool as I do right now.Ã¢â‚¬Â This despite wearing a Mets jacket.
This is what Jay-Z and Kanye elicit with their Ã¢â‚¬Å“luxury rapÃ¢â‚¬Â: You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do the same things they do, you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have their money, you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really relate to the majority of how they describe their lives.
But you still canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help but feel cool, and somewhat inspired, by association.
With all due respect to Blake Griffin and his somewhat disappointing sponsored dunk over (the hood of) a car — a Kia, no less — I think my favorite thing to come out of last weekend was the very-late-Friday-night release of Kobe BryantÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new Nike ad/short film, The Black Mamba.
Swallowed up in all the Carmelo Anthony hysteria was one of the smartest, funniest and most unique sneaker ad campaigns in quite some time. (Video after the jump)
Kobe Bryant sat on stage at Foot Locker on 34th Street in New York City on Friday night, his congenial nature thinly veiling his inherent razor-sharp focus, which had been on full display at Madison Square Garden just an hour beforehand.
Make no mistake: Though Kobe was relaxed and enjoying himself while entertaining and inspiring his young fans, his drive to succeed in all aspects of his career was on full display at Foot Locker UnlockedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s event to promote the release of the Nike Kobe VI Supreme/Rice.
I never used to understood why Jay-Z was always in Ã¢â‚¬Å“best rapper aliveÃ¢â‚¬Â conversations, since I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think his skills were on that level. I thought that maybe it was like LilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Wayne, where he said it so much himself over the years that people eventually just assumed it was true.
Then on Monday, after all these years, I saw him live for the first time at Yankee Stadium, the show he co-headlined with Eminem, which I had the opportunity to write about for my day job.
To paraphrase Yuri Foreman two days before he fought there, Yankee Stadium is really big.
But Jay-Z has made himself even bigger.
Remember a few days ago, when ESPN and the rest of the national media was saying the Knicks would get shut out in free agency?
So much for that. But weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll get to that in a minute.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s my weekly look at the weekendÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s football games. Remember: I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t claim to actually know anything substantive about the sport.
A few years back, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were the unquestioned kings of a sport in which quarterbacks are put on a pedestal. They were two golden gods with golden arms, leaders of men that handled thundering herds of massive men with a deft sidestep and a flick of their powerful wrists.
With the baseball playoffs fast approaching and the football season in full swing, it still seems that LeBron James is everywhere. You have books on the market, movies on the way, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s at the Cowboys game, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on the Daily Show. You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even open your front door without LeBron being there selling you Nikes and clapping some chalk in the air.