The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

October 5, 2012

Mike Pound: When did shoes become such a big deal in basketball?

When I was a junior in high school, all the guys on the basketball team were told to buy a pair of dark blue, Converse basketball shoes.

When I asked if I needed to get high-top or low-cut shoes, my coach, who had seen me play, said, “Do you really think it matters, Pound?”

Apparently, my coach was under the impression that I wouldn’t be spending much time on the basketball court during actual games. I think my coach was under the impression that I could wear a pair of slippers during actual games and no one would notice.

The thing is, besides our coach, nobody else really cared what sort of shoes we wore during our games. What they cared about was if we won or lost. We could have worn steel-toed work boots and nobody would have cared as long as we won. We could have worn the most expensive pair of tennis shoes made, but if we lost nobody would care.

For the record, when I was a kid the only tennis shoes that could make you run faster were PF Flyers. I know this because that’s what they said in the PF Flyers commercials.

By the way, when I played high school basketball, the word “expensive” was never used in the same sentence with “tennis shoes.” When I played high school basketball, tennis shoes were just tennis shoes and nobody would ever think of paying more for them then you would pay for a pair of dress shoes.

Of course, when I played high school basketball, James Naismith was still working a few kinks out of the rules of the game.

What I’m saying is that tennis shoes didn’t really play a big role in my high school basketball career. To my knowledge, tennis shoes didn’t really play a big role in the big-time college basketball or NBA worlds, either. When I was a kid, Bill Russell was my basketball idol and I can honestly say that I don’t remember ever hearing someone talk about his tennis shoes.

I say this as I look at a copy of an Associated Press sports story devoted to the news that NBA star Dwyane Wade has switched tennis shoe brands. I should point out that only old guys still refer to tennis shoes as “tennis shoes.” Most people today call tennis shoes “sneakers.” Today, the only time someone would call tennis shoes “tennis shoes” is if they bought them to play tennis. No self-respecting young person would play basketball in a pair of tennis shoes. A self-respecting young person would only play basketball in a pair of shoes endorsed by a celebrity basketball player.

I don’t really mind the elevated status given to sneakers in today’s world. What I mind is having to read sports stories about basketball players switching brands. Granted, I didn’t have to read the sports story, but I was at work and the alternative to reading the story was working.

Clearly, I had to read the story.

In the story, Dwyane said his sneaker contract expired at the end of September and that he and his former sneaker company made “a mutual decision to not extend the agreement.” Wade also said that he and his former sneakers would always remain friends and would share custody of his socks.

In the story, Dwyane said he has not yet unveiled plans for what brand he plans to wear in the upcoming basketball season. I don’t know what sneaker brand Dwyane will wear this year, but I know what brand he should wear.

PF Flyers. Seriously, they do make you run faster.

Text Only
Local News
  • State audit of Joplin School District begins

    Staff members from the state auditor’s office have begun their audit of the Joplin School District, Superintendent C.J. Huff said Monday. They are expected to be in the district four days per week for the next five to six months, or perhaps longer, until the audit is complete, Huff said.

    July 21, 2014

  • Burglary conviction draws shock prison time

    A Joplin man who received 120 days of shock incarceration time Friday in a drunken-driving case in Jasper County Circuit Court was assessed a concurrent sentence Monday in a burglary case.

    July 21, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Family gatherings mirror circle of life

    The annual family gathering is getting bigger. There tends to be an ebb and a flow to most family gatherings. When you’re a kid, and especially if you’re a kid from a large Catholic family, the gatherings seem to be huge.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.

    July 21, 2014

  • Main Street TIF district study to begin

    A measure that allows the city to charge its administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.

    July 21, 2014

  • 071714 Jasper Cty Dispatch1_72.jpg Area communities, Jasper County work to improve communications

    The first law enforcement officer to respond to a fatal shooting last November at Northpark Mall was from the Duquesne Police Department — not Joplin. Joplin police Chief Jason Burns said he wasn’t bothered by that. “We dispatch for them, and they had an officer close who could get there faster,” he said. “And getting help to people as quickly as possible is more important than jurisdictions.”

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • New and old TIF districts on agenda for Joplin council

    Another tax increment financing district is being proposed for Joplin, this one along South Main Street. The area is close to the new Mercy Hospital Joplin that is set to open next year. RKS Development is seeking authorization from the Joplin City Council when it meets Monday night to prepare a request to establish a TIF district.

    July 20, 2014

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Family grows by one — a black Lab named Raven

    If you haven’t experienced the feeling of a tiny puppy in your lap at the end of a perfect July Saturday — hammock time, s’mores, leisurely walks, you know the kind — I highly recommend it. It is pure joy.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042017 Jo Ellis_c.jpg Jo Ellis: Car show, sidewalk sale and more scheduled for weekend in Carthage

    All roads leading to Carthage should be packed this weekend as numerous events geared toward entertainment, cultural pursuits and bargain hunting are expected to pull in large crowds.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SusanRedden.jpg Susan Redden: Hobby Lobby lawyer to speak at watermelon feed

    Josh Hawley, who helped represent Hobby Lobby in arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on contraception requirements in the Affordable Care Act, has been added to the list of speakers for Thursday’s annual watermelon feed sponsored by Newton County Republicans.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read


Do you think Missouri should pass legislation that would allow a prescription drug database to be kept?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter