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Why You Should Care About the Return of This Basketball Shoe

Stephon Marbury’s basketball sneakers are cool—and affordable for almost everyone.

A photo posted by Stephon X. Marbury (@starburymarbury) on Sep 27, 2015 at 3:56pm PDT

“Anybody who grew up in a household with a lot of brothers and sisters, they know how it is as far as, you know, everybody wearing the same sneakers—hand-me-downs,” the New York Knick Stephon Marbury told the Today show in 2007. The basketball player was in the midst of a PR push for his own sneaker—the “Starbury,” a sleek-ish basketball shoe that also came with the cachet of a professional player’s endorsement. But the Starbury was a bit different. Unlike many of the pricey basketball shoes for sale at the time, which could cost more than $150 a pop, Marbury’s sneakers went for just $15.


Eight years later, Marbury no longer plays for the NBA, having departed in 2010 for a lucrative (and successful) career in the Chinese Basketball Association. His shoes went out of production in 2009, after the clothing chain that created and carried them closed. But Starburys, Marbury announced on Instagram this week, are about to make a comeback.

#starburyFlavors COMING SOON A photo posted by Stephon X. Marbury (@starburymarbury) on Sep 27, 2015 at 4:03pm PDT

The return of the affordable basketball shoe is great news for basketball fiends with few funds. But as Francie Diep notes in Pacific Standard, the move is particularly exciting for teenagers, for whom sportswear carries important social capital. She cites work by the marketing specialist Jens Niebuhr that finds that teens’ preferences for sweet shoes is no accident. In fact, lifestyle companies target black American teens in the marketing of their high-end sports products. Writes Niebuhr:

Much of the [branded sportswear] manufacturers’ marketing efforts is assigned to the teenager segment that is worth more than $65 billion a year. The dominant players, Nike, Reebok and Adidas, share similar marketing propositions, trying to position their products as being “cool.” In order to meet their target group’s ideas, they frequently poll teens, or even hire psychologists to “tap teens’ psyches” in order to create “seductive” communication.

Marbury knows all about being a teenager who can’t afford the latest thing in “cool.” The basketball player grew up in a housing development in Coney Island, Brooklyn, a place he once called “the ghetto.”

“I grew up on food stamps,” he told the New York Daily News in 2006. “I know what it's like not to have money. I understand how kids feel when they walk into a store and see a pair of shoes they can't afford."

It’s unclear whether the shoe line will retain its $15 price point. But given how important the affordability angle was to the original Starburys, and Marbury’s own commitment to creating a great, inexpensive shoe, it’s a good bet they’ll be more budget friendly than your average sportswear. Can Stephon Marbury make affordable cool again?

Haha! They forgot how we I bring it. We took a break for a min but we're coming back stronger then ever! #starbury COMING SOON A photo posted by Stephon X. Marbury (@starburymarbury) on Sep 29, 2015 at 1:58pm PDT

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The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

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According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

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"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

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The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

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Culture
Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

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