Playing the Field: LeBron’s sneakers going for $350 and an Andrew Luck painting sold at $1,500

Timmy from Broadway Elementar ... I mean, Andrew Luck from the Indianapolis Colts, painted this. (Photo from eBay/Panini)

A middle-class family cannot afford the new LeBron James sneakers.

Expect this line to make the cut in an Obama/Biden, Romney/Ryan speech this week.

The new LeBron X is selling for a cool $315, namely because it can keep track of how high you jump and how much “explosiveness” you have using sensors. Now, I know technology has advanced greatly since the early ’90s, but this sounds eerily similar to the great American rip-off known as the Karl Malone “Catapult.” The Catapult, brought to you by the ad wizards at LA Gear, led a young boy to believe he could dunk if he wore the shoe. Yes, even if said boy was a 4-foot-2 inch, 9-year-old white kid from the ‘burbs.

Elementary school peer pressure can get the best of you when it comes to sneakers. I whined to my parents in 1991 for a solid 30-to-40 days in an attempt to con them into buying me Dee Brown’s Reebok pumps which also were supposed to make you jump higher. They rejected my pleas and I hold a grudge to this day. Had I gotten those shoes, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would be gearing up for another season in the NBA D-League, instead of typing away on a laptop on a gorgeous Wednesday morning about two decade-old sneakers.

But back to the LeBron X’s. They are supposed to look like the sneaks he wore in the gold medal game against Spain, which is a contest I’m sure everyone will fondly remember for years to come (not really).

I suppose these sneakers will somehow sell (yes, in this economy), though it’s probably a better investment than spending hard-earned cash on a watercolor painting by Andrew Luck (applause for flawless transition).

Yup, some dope spent $1,500 this week on a child-like painting of Lucas Oil Stadium (Luck painted it for Panini, a sports collectibles company). Now, Lucas Oil is a beaut of an NFL building. From all accounts, it will hold multiple Super Bowls due to how lovely it is. But it’s not the g**damn Eiffel Tower we’re talking about here. In the end, it’s a painting from a rookie quarterback that probably took him all of four minutes to complete.

We all know the sports collectibles industry is in the gutter in more ways than one (did you know that Upper Deck doesn’t even produce baseball cards anymore?). But as long as there are suckers out there that will pony-up cash for something (anything) labeled “one-of-a-kind,” companies like Nike and Panini will be kept alive.



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