The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 83 — From passion to paper

Why you know PJ Tucker so well

Good morning, folks! Happy Friday! Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear. Thank you so much for giving me a bit of your time this morning.

Make sure y’all go vote for the community forum platform! Right now, hosting it on a Substack thread is the lead option. But it’s by a slim margin and there’s still time. The poll is open through the weekend, so let me know what y’all think.

Let’s get right to it.

Flipping passion into M’s

(Photo by Randalyn Hill on Unsplash)

PJ Tucker isn’t supposed to be an exceptional NBA player. You’re not really supposed to know who he is. For a while, most people didn’t.

  • He started his career as an early second round pick by the Toronto Raptors who never really got off the bench for that team. He wasn’t brought back after his rookie season.

  • Over the next five years he spent time playing for various teams overseas in different countries.

It took six years for him to make it back to the NBA and, even when he did, he wasn’t more than anything more than an average 3&D wing role player. Today, he’s great. But he’s still no LeBron James or James Harden.

So why do we know him so well? The answer is his sneakers. Tucker is known as the league’s “Sneaker King.”

PJ is definitely a sneakerhead. But there are a bunch of guys athletes throughout sports — not just the NBA — who have massive sneaker collections. What makes Tucker different is that he’s turned his sneakers into a money maker.

Case in point, the deal Tucker just signed with eBay, as CNBC reports.

  • Tucker signed a short term deal with eBay to allow the e-commerce site to showcase his sneaker loft.

  • They’ll pull from joints he has in his closet to auction of similar styled sneakers on the site.

There’s already an episode in the books.

He flipped his passion into content, and he flipped that content into a new deal. And the cycle just keeps repeating. It’s genius, really.

So, yeah, the next time somebody tells you buying sneakers is a waste of time, point them to PJ Tucker.

New Balance’s 992 > The Jordan 1

(Photo by Tatiana Rodriguez on Unsplash)

It’s hard to argue that anyone in the sneaker world has had a better 2020 than New Balance from a visibility perspective.

New Balance has been any and everywhere this year. A recent tweet from StockX perfectly demonstrated this rise. In July, the New Balance 992 held a higher resale price in StockX’s resale market than the Jordan 1 high.

Yes, it’s only one month. But that single month spike in July is a microcosm of the brand’s overall transformation.

It’s been a slow grind to this point, but a perfect confluence of events led to this space.

  • First, the brand dumped its “endorsed by no one” strategy in 2009. Before that, they worked from the strength of the New Balance name alone without any outside influence from an athlete or otherwise. And their name was closely associated with Dad vibes.

  • Second, Kawhi Leonard. Their biggest athletic endorsement in years winning a Finals MVP and an NBA Championship gave them a moment they were able to take full advantage of.

  • Third, the 90’s are back in style and Dad vibes are in again. And that fits in perfectly with New Balance’s overall ethos.

And with all that happening, New Balance has risen to the occasion and made 2020 the year of the 992, as Complex’s Matt Welty astutely points out here.

This year has seen the first re-release of the 992, a “dad” shoe that became popular for its chunky sole, grey suede design, and co-sign by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The sneaker was reimagined by Joe “Freshgoods” Robinson, a designer from Chicago, who admits that he was never a big New Balance guy growing up, but has been learning the brand’s history since releasing his version of the shoe at All-Star Weekend in his hometown to much fanfare.  

Add all that together, and you get the July that New Balance’s 992 just had. It’s wild how just a few years can change things. As the athleisure wave of the mid-2010’s slowly began to morph, New Balance found itself a niche.

No one expected this, yet here we are. The Dad brand that wasn’t on anyone’s radar just a few years ago has become a favorite. Go figure.

Another big L for Adidas

The three stripes just held their second quarter earnings call on Thursday and reported massive losses to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, Footwear News reports.

The numbers, which account for a three month span from March to June, were blistering.

  • Adidas saw a net loss of $362 million with revenues dropping by 35% to $4.24 billion.

  • It also lost $1.72 per share through the quarter, which exceeded market analyst’s prediction of $1.62.

Despite the awful numbers, company CEO Kasper Rorsted had a positive outlook on things and predicted a

“We addressed the challenges and went after opportunities, as reflected in our e-com business nearly doubling in Q2. We are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as the normalization in the physical business continues, with the vast majority of our stores being operational again.”

That’s a big if, though. It anticipates stores remaining open through the third quarter and online sales persisting at a high level. Online sales might hold steady, but it’s way too early to account for store closures amid another potential COVID wave in the fall.

Basically, we’ll see.

The Union AJ4’s are bad. That Zoom 92 tho? 👀

Alright, after the 547th time at looking over the Union Jordan 4’s, I have determined that they are irredeemable as a Jordan 4 and just plain bad.

HOWEVER, I will admit that being able to remove the objectively terrible long tongue from them does make them slightly more wearable, in my opinion. But still — not biting.

These Zoom 92’s tho? Nah, these hitting.

(via Jacques Slade)

The joints is nice, yo! I’m just saying. I know we be hating on fusion J’s — and rightfully so. They get terrible.

But these? I might be willing to make an exception. MAYBE. We’ll see. (aka plz don’t roast me when I get these.)



First, the better Mike came through with the Paranorman vibes all over the Air Max 720’s.

Then, the homie Jalen popped out in the AJ20’s. Joints is slept on to this day, somehow!

The Sport Connoisseur came through with some clean Star Wars NMD vibes and you absolutely love to see it.

Then bae came through in the elements looking as fly as ever.

The homie Grant came through with the in the Jordan Max 200’s bout CLEAN

Storm popped in with the Yonce mask and the Air Max 90 lx. Always coordinated, family.

The homie Julian popped in with the CORK BRON 10’s! Ain’t seen these joints in forever! Subscribe to Keeping Stock, btw! Best sneaker pod out.

The homie Josh popped out in the Eric Koston AJ1 x SB lows and I LOVE THESE.

Grand opening for the homie Johnathan in the OFF WHITE AJ4! Salute!

The homie Madison came through in the Union LA x Jordan AJ1 and THIS IS HOW A UNION SHOE SHOULD LOOK.

Then my guy Nick sent us home packing in the Sean Wotherspoon x Atmos Asics. LOOK. AT. THESE.

Family, y’all are TOO fly. GOODNESS.

That’s a wrap for this week! Thanks so much for a bit of your time today — I really, really appreciate it. Y’all remain the very best.

Don’t forget! Vote on the KYW forum space. It takes two seconds, family. I promise.

As always, y’all. Peace and love. Be easy. Be well. Be kind.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯

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