As a kid growing up in the early 1980′s we had lots of shoe choices. But style… well let’s just say that this wasn’t my thing. I’m pretty sure this lack of attention to “style” also led to a proportional lack of interest by the ladies. I just didn’t make the connection and besides that I was way too busy doing all sorts of really important things like reading comic books, playing arcade games and delivering newspapers. I do remember that I decorated the walls of my orange colored bedroom with a few stylish Nike posters. That was my art and my expression of style in those days.

I had posters of the legendary Moses “Chairman of the Board” Malone and Jamaal “Silk” Wilkes who played for the Lakers between 1977-1985. My favorite poster was “Jam Session” which featured a whole bunch of NBA players after an outdoor run with their favorite musical instruments. They were dressed in normal everyday sports clothes, no logos or team jerseys and in natural poses. It was very real and that was my art. My buddy had the classic George Gervin “IceMan” poster, a Norm Nixon and the second version of “Supreme Court” a poster that featured a young Michael Jordan. I must also admit to having a “Slippery When Wet” poster on the wall. This was basically just two big boobs in a tight wet t-shirt. My mom hated it.

Putting up a poster was, and still is, a way of expressing yourself in your teenage years. Back in the 80′s it was also the early days of sports marketing and a then young  Peter Moore was driving this trend for Nike. He put an athlete in a scene with cool iconic poses and gave it a tag line. This was the birth of a new phenomena in sports marketing as thousands of young basketball fans swarmed to put their hero’s image on their walls. This is from a time before the release of the first Air Jordan shoe and a time before Nike was crowned the king of hip hop culture and the sneaker world.

So back in the 1980′s I wore whatever shoes I figured worked the best and what I could afford. So like the little consumer I was, I searched for a combination of the two. I ended up with some snazzy Pony shoes with heavy pull over Velcro straps and even a pair of very basic but highly serviceable New Balance shoes. At the time Converse, now mostly known for the classic “Chuck Taylor All-Stars” was “The Official Shoe of the NBA”. Converse was represented by the biggest stars of the era with Larry Bird, Julius “Dr. J” Erving and Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. as examples. Here’s their commercial in 1983 for the release of the Converse Weapon.

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Correspondingly Nike broke new ground with this 1983 commercial and the Air Force One shoe with air sole technology. I’ll let you guess what shoes I wore that year.

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