NBA’s Stephon Marbury Is Making A Point: Athletic Clothing and Sneakers Should Be Sold At More Affordable Prices

For one pair of Jordan’s sneakers, you could buy as many as 18 pairs of shoes in Marbury’s varied line…….

New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury’s sneaker, the Starbury One, has yet to fly off of store shelves, but families are purchasing the shoes by the bunch.

“Mostly parents come in and buy two or more pairs of the sneakers,” said Matt Snaidman, a sales representative at the Steve and Barry store in Woodbridge, Virginia. “At this location, our sales are moderately well-especially with school starting when the collection became available,” said Snaidman.

Marbury and Steve & Barry’s University Sportswear launched a clothing line with the idea of making athletic gear more affordable.

As an example, the price of one pair of top-of-the-line Air Jordans, a person would buy 12 pairs of the Starbury Ones or 18 pairs of the Starbury other sneakers the Crossovers, Cyclones or SXM for the price of one pair of Jordan XXI, $149.99.

On August 17, 2006 sneakers as well as gym attire was available in Steve & Barry’s stores nationwide at the affordable price of ten to fifteen dollars. 

NBA merchandise is an expensive purchase.  The very popular Michael Jordan sneakers go for nothing less than $100, depending on model and popularity.

Marbury attempts to undercut this very phenomenon and make cool NBA sneakers more accessible; the same quality but different price.

The Starbury is made of the same leather and has the same kind of cushioning as any other athletic sneaker, especially the Jordans that sell for over $100.

“Options for consumers is what this project is all about,” added Patton.  “And Steve & Barry’s is the right home for Marbury’s vision.”  

For the past twenty years, Steve and Barry’s have been known for its thrifty prices; starting in 1985 at the University of Pennsylvania.  Steve & Barry’s offer the same merchandise as university bookstore minus the costly expense.

The main shoe of Marbury’s campaign is The Starbury One’s, which looks as slick as normally prices NBA sneakers.  The Starbury One is offered in four different color schemes, including one that sports the colors of a New York Knicks jersey. 

Marbury’s line of clothing also includes sweaters, hoodies, varsity jackets, jerseys, and other affordable sneakers, priced at $9.98 The Starbury Crossover, Cyclone, SXM have a more casual look that allows the sneakers to function on any turf.

“It takes some of the pressure off, of both parents and children, and you still get that quality,” said Erin Patton, head of marketing at the Master Mind Group-the lead marketing agency on the Starbury Collection.

For low-income families it is always an ongoing struggle to obtain basic human needs; not to mention the difficulty of acquiring brand name items. 

According to the 2005 American Community Survey, 16.7% of the 108,483 families in Washington, D.C. live below the poverty level and 25.5% of that number have children under the age of 17,while, 11.1% of that group makes less than $10, 000 a year. 

“It was hard for my parents to provide for my family, especially buying the unnecessary,” said Brian Mapp, an avid sneaker buyer.

“The idea is great, if he’s not considering profit,” said Mapp. 

Mapp is comfortable with idea of providing an option for low income families, but believes there will be skepticism due to popularity.

“Most people equate price with durability and quality, that is not always the case,” said Mapp.

Spending $180 for a pair of anything is out of the question. 

“Michael Jordan could price his sneaker at that price, but he his not the only one deciding the price, Nike has influence as well,” said Mapp.

Considering the low wages of Indonesia and other third world countries, sneakers do not cost much to make.

“I’m sure it is safe to assume that the mission of Nike is different than that of Steve and Barry’s, a store known for its’ cheap prices,” said Mapp.

Mapp concludes that he buys sneakers despite price.  His choice is based on if he likes the sneaker. 

He buys a lot; his closest is filled with more sneakers than clothes-Mapp has roughly fifty pairs of sneakers.

“It’s my hobby.”

Low income children have to focus on “being like Mike” in pair of sneakers they’re parents can afford. 

Marbury was born in Brooklyn, New York’s Coney Island projects, Surfside Gardens; the sixth of seven children.  Four children in the Marbury family were playground basketball players.  

Living in a household where parents struggled to make ends meet, Marbury knows of both the pressure parents have to spend money hastily on the latest clothes and sneakers as well as the harassment children endure by not having those items.

In 2004, Miami Heat’s Shaquille O’Neal with Payless Shoe Company introduced the Dunkman’s.  The sneaker was showcased in Payless stores nationwide for $40.

Families are purchasing multiple items from the Starbury Collection.

Marbury is not the first athlete to try and bring frugality into the basketball sneaker industry, but probably the first to succeed-with quality still a factor.