Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Perp Shoe Of The Week: Rodman Edition

I've been doing these perp shoe posts since practically the inception of PTU, and as everyone has ignored them and/or skyrocketed them to the top of the popular posts charts to see the pretty sneaker pictures, you've probably noticed or haven't noticed the wide array of athletes who endorsed them once upon a time. From quiet superstar running backs (who may have retired early depending on who you ask) to loudmouth rebounding power forwards turned loudmouth analysts to the greatest basketball player to ever lace up a pair of perp shoes, one thing has been proven: A player mustn't be an actual perp (or possess perpish tendencies) in order to be a spokesman for a truly great perp shoe. (And while we're at it, let me just say that the term "perp shoe" is a reference to a perp hating police officer friend of PTU who thinks of all sneakers as such, and does not reflect the opinions or ideals of Johnny Bagels and most of the PTU writers). Grant Hill was about as square as a pizza box, but his kicks were worn by rappers and every public schooler in the tri-state for a couple years there. And, this week's entry is yet another case in point of the personality of the spokesman not really having an impact on the consumer.

Dennis Rodman did lots of good things on the court, like that tip to himself rebound technique, and a truly uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time (both in terms of rebounding and defensive position as well as what truly great teams he played for). It's debatable whether or not his teams were dynasties or championship caliber squads because of him or if he was just lucky to be around all time-great teammates, but what's not debatable is that the guy was a freaking weirdo. Sure, he did it all for attention and to get recognized (let's face it, offensively challenged forwards who specialize in defense and rebounding need a hook like crazy hair or dressing in drag or they'll end up just being Serg Ibaka) and he probably wasn't really a John Ameche since he got all types of trim from famous sluts but whatever; to paraphrase Biggie, weird niggas do weird things. From dying his hair every color in the rainbow to wearing a wedding dress at a book signing, to using whatever borderline homo erotic tactics he could to psych out his opponents (I imagine he would whisper something to the cowboy boots wearing Karl Malone about riding him like a horse or something), the Worm is the antithesis of what's really good in the streets. Nobody was dying their hair magenta and putting in a big hoop nose ring (even 2pac couldn't make nose rings thuggish) or wearing dresses or whatever, but Rodman's shoes were still classics that got a good amount of burn at the local urban Foot Locker.

The Air Darwins were not quite as wacky as the later Rodman sneakers, but the backwards check is a sign of things to come. A truly original looking sneaker at the time, the couple guys who I knew that were Darwin fans usually bought them in every color and had multiple pairs of the same color. An underrated sneaker for sure.

The Darwins were nice and all, but they were nothing compared to the Air Worms. A truly revolutionary sneaker in the same way that Babe Ruth revolutionized baseball for white people. The first shoe to hide the laces on the side (and one of the last)the design of this shoe was out there but still looked sleek. Paired up with black socks (like the championship Bulls team did in the playoffs) these were some fresh looking perp shoes, no matter how fruity the guy wearing them was.

After that, Rodman's sneakers followed the same trajectory as his career. His next pair with Nike were a true kick in the groin, and let's not talk about Dennis's wrestling career, failed comebacks with the Mavs and Lakers or his disgusting Converse sneakers. And that's the legacy of hall of famer Dennis Rodman: a goofy androgynous freak who had a couple pairs of great perp shoes and could rebound the ball like a maniac.

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