November 26, 2013 |
John Lee showed up for an interview about his sneaker empire wearing a pair of leather loafers. "I'm not in the culture," the 53-year-old president and owner of KicksUSA said unapologetically. But with 30 sneaker and athletic-apparel stores in the Philadelphia area, and plans to double that number in two to three years with an expansion into New York, Lee is most assuredly in the business of serving that culture. It's a fanatical one. A limited-release shoe can trigger iPhonemania-like lines outside athletic-footwear stores like KicksUSA.
August 13, 2013 |
Maurice Holoway had been obsessing for six days. On that Monday he had read that the classic Air Jordan IIIs were being rereleased. These were the original red, white, and black kicks first made available to the public in 1988. Holoway, 28, knew he had to get to the store early if he wanted a crack at the $160 shoes. He didn't want to be disappointed. By 7:30 on that Saturday morning, when the UBIQ store opened in the Gallery, Holoway was standing pretty - first in line. For the occasion he wore his Nike Barkley Posite Max Phoenix Suns in rich purple faux crocodile skin with zigzags of bright powder blue and a Nike swoosh in shocking orange that cost him about $250.
August 9, 2013 |
A MIDDLE-AGED Hispanic man steps out of his car on Aramingo Avenue with an ear-to-ear smile and his hands in the air. It's strange, because the cops never told him to raise his hands. He solicits a couple fist bumps, inexplicably, as he strolls across the street to one of the red chairs reserved for visibly intoxicated drivers awaiting a sobriety test at a recent Port Richmond DUI checkpoint. When police aren't looking, his eyes roll around, but that jovial smile remains plastered on his face.
March 7, 1999 |
Michael Jordan, the greatest celebrity product endorser ever, has a new game - and one that is every bit as competitive as the NBA: Fashion. "I'm not afraid of a challenge," Jordan said Tuesday during a private party, at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino, that followed a minifashion show to launch his new Jordan line. "Everybody knows how competitive I am. " Once, he went one on one with guys named Shaq and Bird. Now, he's going up against the Tommys and Calvins of the world.
January 17, 1999 |
Just last weekend, Nike released the latest Air Jordan, the XIV. Even at nearly $150 a pair, there was no shortage of customers. "Air Jordans sell themselves," said Ron Murray, footwear store manager for Just for Feet on Columbus Boulevard. "You really don't have to advertise; folks just want to know when the release date is. " So you would think Michael Jordan's announcement on Wednesday that he was retiring from basketball - the game that made him the best-known sports figure in the world and a multimillion-dollar pitchman - would cause fans to rush out to snap up the rest of the Air Jordan XIVs as a memento of the event, right?
January 15, 1999 |
Michael Jordan was to basketball what Baryshnikov was to ballet. Jordan seized the game and made it art. Now that he has announced his retirement, forget for the moment the 10 scoring titles he owns, or the 10-time selection to the All-NBA first team, or the five Most Valuable Player awards, or even the six NBA championships to which he steered the Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan's game was art - the pure delineation of art that resonates in the same sense as dance or painting or poetry.
January 14, 1999 |
Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls basketball player who transcended sport to become an iconic figure and one of the world's greatest celebrities, retired yesterday, saying, "I've had fun," and describing this, his second departure from the game, as "99.9 percent" final. Jordan, 35, impeccably attired in a dark suit and joined by his wife, Juanita, bid farewell to a career in which he brought Chicago six NBA championships and earned unprecedented individual honors and stupendous wealth.
January 13, 1999 |
The United Center, a cavernous arena on the city's West Side, is often called "the house Michael built" - a nod of Ruthian proportion to the legacy of Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan. Today, Michael will leave his house. Today (noon in Philadelphia) at this arena, Jordan is expected to announce the end of an NBA career that included a record 10 scoring titles, two Olympic gold medals, five Most Valuable Player Awards, six MVP honors in the NBA Finals, three consecutive league championships, and six titles in the last eight years.
November 4, 1998 |
People used to line up to buy the newest Air Jordan basketball shoes. This year, sales of the most recent version, which reached stores over the weekend, aren't matching expectations, analysts are saying. Call it another casualty of the NBA lockout. Last night's scheduled opening games were canceled three weeks ago, and the economic impact is mounting. If the lockout isn't resolved soon, the losses could stretch into the billions and affect companies such as Nike Inc., television networks and cities banking on taxes from arenas, analysts told Bloomberg News.
July 21, 1997 |
Sneaker owners lugged bags and boxes filled with their worn castaway shoes to West Philadelphia over the weekend, hoping to resell them as stylish footwear in Japan. Young men there will pay hundreds, and often thousands, of dollars for the privilege of wearing sneakers that already have lost some tread on Philadelphia sidewalks. Most of what they buy are men's shoes, but they'll settle for women's in a pinch. But Japanese chic is exacting, as many would-be sellers discovered when they carried home the same sneakers they had brought to the Sheraton University City.