Air Jordan mania continued several days after fights and disturbances broke out at stores across the nation two days before Christmas. On Dec. 26, 19 year-old Efrain Espinoza of Houston was followed by several men while walking from a party with his girlfriend. The men first attempted to steal his cell phone and a fight ensued. The men eventually took his new $180 Air Jordan XI during the fight and stabbed his girl friend form cheek to chin.
In Elmhurst, Ill., a man was robbed at gun point for his shoes while meeting a man who wanted to buy the shoes on Craigslist. Rodney Payton was arrested for the robbery.
Unfortunately, individuals have been robbed and even killed over Air Jordans since the late 1980s. The release of the retro Air Jordan XI Concords has shed light on the misplaced priorities of some who would become violent over a pair of sneakers.
However, it’s deeper than a material item for many. Value can only be determined by those who covet a particular item. A lot of sneaker heads view Air Jordans the same way wine connoisseurs view wine and art collectors view art. Some spend top dollar to get a pair without ever wearing them. Some horde the shoes with the hopes of the value increasing over time or they trade with other sneaker aficionados who are searching for a pair that is hard to find.
At times it works. There are some rare Air Jordans that have a resale value of up to $4,000. As a result, the purchase of a $180 shoe can easily be tripled once it’s resold on the Internet, or it makes for a great conversation piece.
Although purchasing the hottest pair of sneakers is somewhat of a sport for many sneakerheads, there still must be civility in the act. There has to be unwritten rules when it comes to the purchasing of the shoes and the leaders within the sneaker community must be the ones who enforce such behavior.
Fighting, erratic behavior and other nonsense can’t be tolerated. Brand Jordan must also play a major part. Michael Jordan could help out tremendously and put an end to the madness by issuing statements that speak out against violence when it comes to the purchase of his shoes.
So while those who will never understand the sneaker culture continue to condemn it, those who live that lifestyle must understand that the problem can only be solved from within.–amir shaw
A.R. Shaw is the sports and music director for rolling out magazine. He is also the author of the young adult novel, 23.