Stephon Marbury calls Michael Jordan 'greedy,' says he's 'robbing the hood'

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Strengthening our community’s financial health and ending the unnecessary deaths of young men seem like reasonable goals black America should universally rally behind.

But former NBA star Stephon Marbury is trying to do just that — and he’s fighting an uphill battle against his own people.

Last week, Stephon Marbury announced that he would be re-releasing his Starbury shoe line, which he famously debuted in 2006 as an affordable option to all the other high priced options on the market.

Marbury, who was the New York Knicks star point guard at the time, decided to sell his shoes for only $15. Despite being in the middle of a $76 million dollar contract, he never forgot what it felt like growing up poor in Brooklyn and not being able to afford nice shoes.

Raised in Coney Island in the 80s, Marbury was exposed to the violence that marred his community when new, name brand kicks were released. It was no secret that kids were dying over expensive Jordans, but what was not being publicly acknowledged enough was how vast the margins truly were.

And we’re not talking about shoes that were constructed with the finest of ingredients like Unicorn mane or Rick James braids — we’re talking about shoes that cost less than $5 to make, yet sold for over $200.

Marbury recently called Jordan “greedy” for selling expensive shoes to poor kids and seemingly not giving a damn when kids get killed over them.

But maybe Marbury should also call us out too.

We have allowed Jordan to price gouge us as if basketball sneakers are inelastic commodities when the demand should be elastic as hell, especially for cash-strapped families.

We can blame Nike and Jordan all we want, but if we continue to elevate their brands and accept their shady business practices, it’s truly us who don’t really care about the safety and security of our people as a whole.

So, where’s the overarching support from our community for Marbury?

The former NBA All-star isn’t saying no one should buy a pair of Jordan’s or LeBron’s ever again. He’s simply saying that we should all be cognizant of how these companies are targeting and price gouging specific communities.

While basketball is a global sport, it’s one that holds a uniquely important position in poor inner city communities all over the country, and when these large companies market their shoes, they know exactly who they’re marketing to.

The hood is where trends go to start, not die, and it’s shameful to see how many large companies have carelessly exploited poor families for profits while simultaneously not giving a damn about how their products negatively affect those marginalized communities. Marbury’s greater point is that we should care about the exploitative nature of the current shoe market, and there need to be more companies offering affordable choices, especially when Marbury is creating his sneakers in the same factories as the largest shoe manufacturers.

Every day on social media, Marbury must constantly defend the low price of his shoes, even though in 2007, a 20/20 report from John Stossel proved that Starbury’s and Jordan’s were constructed in the same way.

It’s funny that Marbury is being grilled over deciding to make his shoes affordable, while men like Michael Jordan aren’t grilled on why they allow their shoes to run for so much.

We all don’t need to run to the store to buy a pair of Starbury’s, but we should support Marbury in bringing up this conversation.