It isn't often that marquee NBA players find themselves in a position to wear whatever shoes they want. Players today are courted by the shoe giants at a young age and rarely get a chance to pick out their own shoes. They pick from a pre-determined selection and there isn't a chance to develop their own style. It's the politics of footwear brands wanting to get in early, on soon-to-be "sneaker wearing billboards."
Not sure if you remember the first of many Ron Artest "terrible moments in taste", when he begged shoe companies to sign him by writing messages on his shoes and changing them every half. This was the closest thing that has come to a "sneaker watch" that wasn't discussed in a boardroom or based on a launch strategy. It was uncanny and raw. But the shoes were wack and nobody cared.
Corporate companies sit around and figure out how to make you like shoes. It's their job to make you want them regardless of what they look like. It's the power of manipulation... I mean marketing. Once you see first hand the effects of "creating fake demand", it takes away the pureness of why I began to like sneakers as a youngin'.
Now leave it up to Gilbert Arenas to bring the fun back to sneakers. A couple of years ago, UNDRCRWN had a chance to work with Gil on creating the Gil20 collection but he ended up getting injured and the shoe collection didn't really take off like it could have- with his on court presence. That was the first attempt by Gil to express his love for sneakers and how he wanted to create a new standard in "having your own shoe". We worked hand in hand to develop shoes that told a story about him. He was very detailed and meticulous on what he wanted. But again this was going to be a calculated program with the intent of selling sneakers.
This time around Gil is without a shoe deal. He's been wearing different sneakers every game. Sometimes 2 pairs per game. There hasn't been a marketing campaign to support it. There hasn't been anything to show that he's doing it for any other reason than his love of shoes. Kind of like it was when I was in high school and I wanted to show off my new sneakers. That's why we all liked Gil in the first place. He made you relate to him on a personal level. As a true (retired) sneakerhead, it's good to see that Gilbert Arenas is taking advantage of his shoe freedom.
When Agent Zero was retired and it looked like the fun was being sucked out of him, Gil turned to self expression through a beard shoes. The language that every shoe aficionado can understand. Gilbert either has something up his sleeve or just happens to be an unrecognized trend setter.
How many players rock #0 now? How many players rock low tops? I have a feeling that someone is going to start doing this and the next thing you know someone is going to monetize it and make it wack. You know who you are.
So make sure to check what shoes Gilbert decides to break out next. You may even find him at Flight Club, in line at Footlocker or online bidding on shoes at eBay.... right along with you. Just like old times.
Welcome back Gil!