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Thursday, December 18, 2014

It Must Be The Shoes: 8 Reasons Jordan Fanatics Aren't Your Problem

Every year around Christmas the Jordan brand releases a limited release sneaker. Every year the pandemonium around copping (or buying) said sneaker gets more ridiculous.  If you find the shoe desirable your options for copping are as follows: 
1) Standing in Line
2) Using a Sneaker Broker
3) Having a Reliable Sneaker Connect
4) Camping Out
5) Buying Them Online (the servers of the top stores usually crash)

I'm fed up. 

When I was growing up I wore all kinds of sneakers from Skechers to LA Gears to KSwiss to Jordans and everything in between. I was fresh as hell too. The most popular shoes varied each year but I remember pressing my parents for Grant Hill's, Ken Griffeys, Deion's, Scottie Pippens and Jordan's. When I got a pair of Jordan's my dad and I would go to the mall on or after the release day. There were no lines. We didn't need a special relationship with the store owner or store manager.  I tried the shoes on, he paid for them and we carried on about our day. 

Something has changed. 

What's happened recently is the Jordan brand limited releases have become a spectacle. Demand often far exceeds supply and it creates a marketplace where people go to extremes to get their hands on a pair. There are people called "sneaker brokers" who make claims to guarantee customers a pair for a fee. (See pic below).

While some Jordan's are quietly released and there isn't much hype about them, many Jordan retro releases cause people act irrationally. As I type this on Wednesday  there are people camping out pending the release of the Air Jordan 11 Retro "Legends Blue" on Saturday. Never mind that people camp out for iPhones or video games the framing of the stories about people who camp out feels different. The Jordan campers are absurd. They must not vote. They're not mentors or pillars of the community. They must not have jobs. Their priorities are mixed up. 

Full Disclosure: My 7 month old daughter has 10+ pairs of Jordans and over 30 pairs of shoes. I'm not bragging I just want you to have an idea who this is coming from. We buy for her not because we want to impress other adults (I could NOT care less what other adults think of what she's wearing. I'm her primary stylist and I style her and create custom pieces for her because of what I like her to have.), but we buy them because we want her to have them. We don't buy every pair, but if we get a pair she gets a pair too. She also has an investment account, savings accounts, and a college savings plan so judge ya mama.

For those unfamiliar with the sneaker game, in terms of serious sneaker consumers the players are "sneakerheads," "hypebeasts" & "sneaker brokers." Sneakerheads are people who collect sneakers for no other reason than they consider certain sneakers collectible items. They take special care of their sneakers. They preserve their sneakers. Keep your judgment about depreciating value. While there are other sneakers or shoes one could buy, Jordan's have maintained dominance amongst classic sneaker lovers. Then there are the "hypebeasts." Ask a sneaker head about a hypebeast if you want to see them get riled up. Hypebeasts are people who only buy shoes for the sole purpose of impressing others. They want bragging rights. They don't care how ugly or stylish the shoes are. They want them because everyone else wants them. Since hypebeasts are usually the flashiest and loudest these are likely the people most think of when they imagine Jordan fanatics. Hypebeasts are hypebeasts and nothing more. 

Not sure if someone is a hypebeast or a legit sneaker head? 
Here's the test: Sneakerheads will do things within reason to get shoes, but understand the game enough not to allow copping the shoes to supersede other priorities. Sneakerheads know there will likely be restocks. Hypebeasts are the ones camping out and paying 4x the retail price just to say they have them. Hypebeasts are also the ones skipping out on bills & meals to get them. 
"They're retro shoes! They're just gonna get released again"

Here are 8 reasons critics of Jordan Fanatics need to play the quiet game:

8. It's not YOUR Money to Spend.  Whether it's on a Battery Operated Boyfriend, Mary Jane, Taylor Swift CDs or Retro Jordan's let people spend their money the way they want to spend their money. 

7. Their Reason For Buying Them Is NOT Your Business. 
"They're just buying them to Impress Other People." 
"The children don't know the difference between Jordan's and (insert cheaper shoe)." 
Whether their cousin has a contract with Nike or they're a hype beast that camped out it does not matter. How or why they got the shoes is none of your business. 

6. They're Not Hurting YOU. When you see a person wearing Jordan's does it hurt you? When you drive by the mall and see people standing in line for a chance to buy them does that impact your world? If the answer is no it's time for you to reflect on why you're so mad.

5. All Jordan Fanatics Are NOT the same. We are lawyers, doctors, engineers, writers, and dentists. We are athletes, entrepreneurs and blue collar workers with undeniable work ethics. Just like any other clusters there are a few ignorant people in the bunch making the rest of us look bad. They're the ones blaming the shoes for their choice to go out robbing, fighting, destroying property and harming others. For the most part we just wanna buy our shoes and go about our business. 

4. Worry About Yourself. Don't you have a 401(k) to brag about? A car that needs an oil change? A credit card bill that needs paying? A drink to drank? Stop worrying about how other people live their lives or how they're managing to do so much. Live & let live!

3. You're Focusing Too Much On Someone Else. 

"They can afford Jordans, but their kids don't have college funds?"
"She bought Jordan's for her whole family, but she doesn't work" 
"They're buying Jordan's, but they don't own their home"
I know social media makes it hard for us to mind our own business, but more people should try it. Shift your focus and figure out how to make your own life better.

2. Their Priorities are NOT Yours to Make. What's it to YOU if it looks like their priorities are messed up? Why does it bother you so much what someone else chooses to do with their money? So what because someone is buying Jordan's but doesn't have a car?? Yes. I said it. SO WHAT?! If they're ok with getting on the bus wearing $200 sneakers why can't you be ok with them doing it? You can't want more for someone than they want for themselves. It's not your job to do the math of how much it would cost them to own a car vs buying Jordan's once a month. Let them be fresh as hell on the city bus. Less traffic for the rest of us. 

1. You're no Better Because You Think You Know Better. Just as Jordan fanatics are not horrible people for buying the shoes, the people who choose not to buy them are no better. Be Clear: Jordan fanatics are not better people, parents, children, aunts or uncles because they buy Air Jordan's. They are no less of the same for choosing to do so. If you want to enlighten people about corporate practices that is one thing, but to make comments because you think you're better than them for never having purchased or owned a pair is another. 

Everything is not meant for everyone to understand. I don't understand why people book layovers on domestic flights. I also don't understand why I wasn't in Beyonce's 7/11 video, but I still manage. 

Before ya go criticizing me and telling me how Jordan doesn't care about the black community or how he hasn't done anything to uplift the black community. . .these notions are not new to me. I think the obsession with the shoes has gotten out of hand. I also think the obsession with many things has gotten out of hand. Look around. We're living in a time where people make decisions based on Instagram likes. There's so much more things we could pick battles about. They're JUST shoes y'all. 

Micheal Jordan is still the greatest basketball player of all time. 


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