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finding the perfect pair to wear is a passion


finding the perfect pair to wear is a passion

Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, left, Authentic Michael Crabtree Jersey who is holding his second annual youth football camp on Friday and Saturday of this week, gives a thumbs up to some of the older kids who were doing warm up exercises. Here he encourages the kids to run faster to their drill stations. Dave Ryan/The Enterprise


There is a good chance had an easier time deciding to play college basketball for New Mexico than he did choosing what sneakers to wear today.


The Ozen guard committed to New Mexico before his junior season began. Ask the incoming senior for the exact number of sneakers he owns and the answer doesn't come as easily.


"I have so many, I've lost count," said Hunter, who estimated the collection Michael Crabtree 49ers Jersey to be in the dozens. "I've always loved sneakers."


Hunter is just one of many young athletes whose passion for sneakers may seem an outrageous expense to some, since most of the shoes push $200 a pair.


The success of the brand soared with a memorable marketing campaign involving Jordan and filmmaker , called "Mars and Mike." In the commercials, Lee portrayed Mars Blackmon, a character he played in his film "She's It," who uttered the famous phrase, "It's gotta Jerry Rice 49ers Jersey be the shoes!"


The rest of the major shoe manufacturers took notice and followed the Air Jordan template. In the early 1990s, Converse released the popular Converse Joe Montana 49ers Jersey Aero Jam for Charlotte Hornets star . Commercials showed Johnson dressed up as a grandmother, and the shoes quickly became known as the "Grandmama."


Reebok entered the fray with the Shaq Attaq Authentic Joe Montana Jersey for Shaquille O'Neal, an off shoot of the company's air pump line.


More than 20 years later and nearly every big , , and .


, who played at Port Arthur Lincoln and for eight different NBA teams in his career, has a contract with Nike's Jordan Brand, which allows him to routinely add custom Air Jordans to his extensive shoe collection.


The Jordan influence doesn't' stop with NBA players. safety , a West Orange Stark graduate, signed a deal with Nike's Jordan Brand last summer. As part of the brand, Thomas receives Jordan sneakers before they are released to the public as well as custom made cleats for when he is on the football field.


Former West Orange Stark basketball standout Laquarious Paige is one of the Jerry Rice Jersey millions of devout Air Jordan collectors.


For Paige, who came to collecting only recently, sneakers are almost like pieces of art.


"I never really took the time to look at them," Paige said. "Once I did, I thought they were nice and then I had to start (collecting). For one, they look really good. But it kind of gives you something to look forward to. Every Joe Montana Jersey weekend I'm looking forward to what shoes come out next."


Paige said he is loyal Michael Crabtree Jersey to the Air Jordan brand because he's a Michael Jordan fan. That, and the shoes are "all really nice."


"They've got plenty of different colors to go with different outfits," he said. "(The shoe line) is really diverse, which is always a good thing to be."


Air Jordans, which now cost between $170 to $200 a pair and brought in $2.25 billion in retail sales last year, continue to fly off store shelves almost three decades after the brand was first introduced. The first example of this was when hip hop pioneers Run DMC earned an endorsement deal due from their hit song, "My Adidas."


Sneakerheads and hip hop have been intertwined ever since. Cool J, Wu Tang Clan, , Nelly, , Authentic Jerry Rice Jersey Kayne West and Rick Ross are just of the marquee hip hop artists that have their own shoe lines.


Port Arthur native and hit rapper Bun B might not have a shoe line, but he is an avid sneaker collector. Bun B doesn't know exactly how many pairs he has but says his collection has reached into the thousands.


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