Starbury: real people Jordans

Photo credit: Dongyoung Won

Photo credit: Dongyoung Won

The National Basketball Association enjoyed All-Star performances from point guard Stephon Marbury during his American basketball days. His NBA career began with the Minnesota Timberwolves and continued with many different teams after his first few years, including the New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns and most famously with the New York Knicks. After playing the 2009-10 season with the Boston Celtics, he left the NBA to play with a few teams in China, leading the Beijing Ducks to three championships. Today he still plays with the Ducks, but is making news here for his shoe line.

His Starbury line of basketball shoes are hitting the markets again for the first time since 2009 when his provider, Steve & Barry’s, went bankrupt. These shoes are different for their incredibly affordable pricing even when the quality ranks with top basketball shoe companies like Air Jordan and Nike.

His business model for his shoe company deserves praise, admiration and cultural appreciation. He openly admits his China factories make his shoes for about $5 per pair and markets them in the U.S. for about $15 at a cost astronomically smaller than his competitors.

This method doesn’t mean to undercut competition as much as it aims to provide a realistic chance for the average person to afford quality sports equipment. Many people across all demographics and economic spectrums love this sport but can’t realistically drop hundreds of dollars on a pair of shoes fitted for basketball.

Basketball has always inspired people from poor settings in America, most notably poor urban Americans. Marbury says he keeps the prices low because he sympathizes with these kids across America whose families don’t have enough money for pricey shoes. He was once one of those kids, too poor to enjoy many luxuries, who found solace in basketball.

Now, like so many players in the NBA, he can credit the game for having a fun, productive activity to better himself. He deserves notice for making it possible for players today to enjoy a quality athletic experience.

The shoe design stays basic while still looking original. Most samples have three colors with primarily solid designs and feature Marbury’s logo. Professional reviews show the shoes have basically no difference in quality and make compared to Jordans, the current king of American basketball shoe sales and reputation.

Marbury’s business plan is brutally honest compared to Nike and Jordan, who both sell their basketball shoes for high prices of at least $150 and make huge profits by assembling their shoes for dirt cheap in Chinese factories. Marbury could still make profit from his shoes selling at $15 in big markets like the U.S. and China when a pair of shoes costs $5 to make.

His willingness to settle for low prices is admirable considering the reality of how much companies like his are making and how he still makes quality, sharp-looking shoes for cheap so they can be affordable.

It’s a method I hope more American businesses recognize and emulate. For the basketball world, it’s definitely a good thing that enables more people to appreciate the game.

No solid release date is available right now, but it will reach news once a date is given as many people will be watching to see how Marbury’s business plan plays out.

Whether you’re looking for a step up for your game or need a new pair of fresh kicks to wear to class, keep an eye on Stephon Marbury’s Starburys, a shoe that benefits your feet, outfit and wallet.

Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] or @sdaly3orion on Twitter.