If you let nearly any NBA baller tell it, they grew up dirt poor with barely any money for food, let alone cool sneakers. So why does it seem like every celebrity-endorsed shoe collection comes with a hefty price tag of at least $100? New York Knicks star Al Harrington has a familiar rags to riches story, but he’s putting a different spin on the athlete endorsement part. He’s just released a footwear line with discount chain K-Mart, called Protege, that’s aimed at kids who dream of hoop-star glory while living in low-income realities. Al was inspired by his own childhood. "When I was growing up, my mother would give me $200 at the beginning of each school year to buy clothing and shoes for myself and my two siblings," said Al. "It was tough to find affordable sneakers that also offered court-ready craftsmanship, style, class and comfort."
Proteges, sneakers with a classic, basketball shape in white, black and navy blue, were tested by Al and Golden State Warriors player Stephen Jackson on real courts. The shoes are available for both boys (in youth sizes 13-6) and men (in adult sizes 7-16) in various styles with a price of no more than $34.99. To kick off the sale of the shoes, which became available this month at both kmart.com and in stores, one million pairs of Proteges were donated to a North Carolina-based charity, Samaritan’s Feet, that provides footwear to needy children around the world.
And, the shoes don’t look half bad, either! Check out two of their styles:
Protege Tripes, Black ($34.99)
Protege A3H, White ($34.99)
Here’s a video K-Mart released to promote the video. We love Al’s slogan "You don’t need money to play this game, you need a shoe."
– Whitney Teal
What do you think of the Proteges? Is this something you’d buy for your guys?