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Stephon Marbury Unfazed by Backlash After ‘Jordan Has Been Robbing the Hood’ Comment, Relaunches $15 Sneaker

stephon-marbury (1)It’s been years since Stephon Marbury faced Michael Jordan on the basketball court, but the former NBA star is ready to take on the basketball legend again–this time off the court.

Marbury is relaunching his once-popular bargain sneaker line, Starbury. As he gears up for re-entry into the sneaker market, he plans to take a piece of the Air Jordan pie.

Marbury has taken to social media to promote his sneakers and in the process lambaste his competitors for overpricing their products. Particularly frustrating for the former Boston Celtics player is the phenomenon of the Jordan sneaker.

The massively popular shoe tends to run at $200 a pop, but Marbury claims the shoe is only made for $5 at the same factories in China that manufacture his $15 Starburys—a fact he finds particularly criminal, knowing many young people who desire the shoe can’t afford them. When the ability to purchase the shoe is out of reach, some resort to stealing or even killing for them.

“Jordan has been robbing the hood,” Marbury tweeted on October 3. “Kids dying for shoes and the only face this dude makes is ‘I don’t care.’ The time will change!”

Marbury pledges to be that change. “Someone has to step up in our culture for our culture. Why not it be me?” he tweeted to a fan.

In another tweet, the point guard calls Jordan “greedy,” and later, places part of the blame on the consumers who “are so caught up in the greatness of his play that they lost their way.” He also points to Lebron James as a “follower” who contributes to the problem by selling high-priced sneakers.

Marbury originally launched the Starbury sneaker brand in 2006 in partnership with retailer Steve & Barry’s. The budget-friendly shoe found success initially but suffered a setback when Steve & Barry’s shut down its stores in 2009 after going bankrupt.

Since then, Marbury has spent time playing for the China Basketball Association and growing his brand overseas. But now he says the time is right to come back to the United States.

In the days since calling out Jordan, Marbury has received a fair share of backlash from Twitter fans who call him a “hater,” but he remains unfazed, tweeting, “The truth defends itself.” Marbury has been teasing new sneaker designs on Instagram, positioning himself as a man of the people, and gaining support from fans worldwide. “I’m just trying to create access for all people,” Marbury says. With a price point that’s less than $20, his Starbury sneakers are affordable enough to do just that.

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