Every time I wear a new pair of sneakers, I get the expressions… “Wow, new shoes…”, or “New kiiicks…”, or “Damn! that’s bright”, or “How do you keep your kicks clean man?” or something that I’ll get from Mom and Dad, “New shoes again??? You’re like Imelda Marcos – with too many Rubbershoes (that’s sneakers in Filipino).” Well, with the feedback that I’ve received from family and friends, I came to realize that I may have a little more than some people would typically have.
Every sneaker geek will have a story to share that triggered his / her passion or love for sneaks. To kick off my first write up with DaYUUM, I get the chance to share what launched me to the world of “Kicksology.”
Born and raised in the Philippines, I grew up considering basketball as the only sport that I played somewhat decent. Some of you may not know, but basketball is the most popular sport in the Philippines even if Filipinos aren’t considered amongst the tallest peeps. And having an uncle that managed and coached in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) – “the NBA of Filipinos”, during the mid 1980’s to early 90’s lured me to the sport even more. My uncle would take my cousins and I to practices, exhibition games and actual games sitting behind the players’ bench. By this time, I came to idolize up and coming players that played for my uncle – How they wear their jersey, mimic their signature bball moves, haircut, copying their gear and of course what sneaks they wear. I knew little about the NBA… but I knew Magic’s insane passes, the Great shooter -Larry Bird, Kareem’s skyhook, Worthy, AC Green, Dominique, and of course the great Airness, Michael Jordan. But ask me about the PBA, heck yeah!!! I knew each and every player and team – sched, stats and the kicks the players wear.
I remember when I first asked my Mom and Dad to buy me my first pair of basketball sneakers. White with red and blue trims, Nike was not popular to me at that time but Converse – yes, Converse CONS ERX 300 was what I got. My CONS ERX 300 hi tops with a big tongue that printed CONS upfront was what made me feel like a superstar when playing with buddies and friends. We called them “CONS”. I liked the pair so much that I would rock them every game and every game it would get scuffed but after play – I would take off the laces and brush them up. I would soak the laces under soap and water. The next morning, I’d squeezed the soap and water out of the laces and put them back on making sure there were no twisters. This way, my CONS look fresh every time I wear them. I remember putting some big fat laces on them too just to change up the look. I’m sure you sneaker geeks could somewhat relate… =)
My uncle’s team was sponsored by Adidas, so aside from my CONS, I would get brand spanking new kicks from him and what are they… white, low cut Superstars with 3 blue stripes and the hi top version of the Superstar, the Promodel with 3 black stripes. I bet this was the peak of the Run DMC and Adidas collab; would I recognize DMC back then? – Nope. I learned about these kicks from Bball players. The Superstars were just a hot item but keeping them clean was a pain. My friends would even envy how I would get kicks for free. They knew that these pairs were what bballers rocked. Rock them with fat, skinny, colored laces – tied, untied laces, no laces – These just looked good with everything. Then one summer, my aunt from the U.S. visited us and in one of the “balik-bayan” or storage boxes (for the peeps that don’t know what these big boxes are that Filipinos bring when travelling- you’ll see them a lot at International Airports… hehe) she gave me my first pair of Nike. It was a love and hate for some- all navy blue Nike Air Force mids. Talk about grabbing people’s attention this pair did when I wore them. Playing ball you’ll see these kids with the regular white boring hi-tops or low cut kicks and here I am playing with some colored, mid cut kicks. These pair felt a lot more lighter that the CONS and more comfy than the Superstars specially when playing on rock solid concrete floored courts. The air sole seemed to make a difference. This was for sure before the Fab Five showed up with the all so famous black socks and mid Nike Air Force Max – This just started the wave of Nike kicks in my life and for exclusivity purposes, my cousin and aunt in the U. S. would buy me Air Flights, Air Flight Huaraches, Air max etc.
So some would ask… did I jump higher with my cool kicks? Heck noh?!? Did I play like Sir Charles rockin my sneaks? Don’t think so?!? Did I have a pair of sneaks that no one had seen at the Bball courts? Helllsss Yeah!!! All they could say was, “DaYUUM!!! Where did you get that?” so what was I thinking “Haha, Game Ova!!! That’s for you fools to find out…” ;P I am sure you sneaker heads will always have a story to share too. Do you remember your first pair of sneaks? Until the next one… Peace! -JP.