In the land of $165 basketball shoes Stephon Marbury stands among a select few. Rather than go with one of the traditional sneaker powers, Stephon’s Starbury line is sold exclusively at Steve & Barry’s, costing just $14.98. The shoes have sold incredibly well, and Marbury has gotten tremendous mileage out of it. For every crazy act Marbury does, and there are plenty (see: defending Vick, his Mike’d Up appearance, and the Knicks trial), his Starbury line is used to counter.
But now Marbury’s role as king of cheap sneakers is being threatened. Tennis star Venus Williams is coming out with her own Steve & Barry’s show, called the EleVen, which will have a similar price point to the Starbury’s. And let’s just say Stephon is not happy.
"I'm doing sneakers, so she should have been under my line," he says. "But obviously, that didn't happen." The company, clearly surprised by Marbury's comments, decided not to respond.So what’s Marbury’s deal? It could be financial. He’s got a financial stake in his Starbury line, and whatever shoes are sold under its name. Ben Wallace’s ‘Big Ben’ shoe is an example of that. But Williams’ EleVen line stands on her own. He won’t make a dime from it, even if he paved the way for her business model.
Maybe Marbury is just a little insecure, as he’s no longer the most accomplished cheap sneaker pusher. Venus Williams has won six Grand Slams, after all. Marbury? He’s been to the playoffs six times, never advancing past the first round.
Marbury has used his sneakers as his lone example of being a normal, decent guy. But maybe after all he’s showing his true colors.