Boycott Nike’s LeBron James, Lebron X Sneakers. : ThyBlackMan

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Boycott Nike’s LeBron James, Lebron X Sneakers.

August 24, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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( Nike, being the marketing geniuses that they happen to be, are always testing the limits of our collective ignorance.  The new LeBron X sneaker being released by Nike will take the company to the mountain top by charging a whopping $315 for a pair of plastic sneakers that probably cost just a few dollars to make in some third-world sweatshop. Forgive me for sounding like a hater, for I respect LeBron James immensely.  But the fact is that this is simply pathetic.

Of course, the routine will be the same:  Kids will be convinced that they have to have these shoes by any means necessary, they will line up around the block at 6:30 in the morning on the day that the shoes are released in order to  spend their last few dollars buying a product that will be damn near worthless just a few months from now.  

We wonder why black people stay broke, while we remain silent about corporations that pimp us all the way to the poorhouse.   There will surely be plenty of newscasts about black teens who’ve shot each other over a pair of shoes or some 17-year old single mother who left her baby in a hot car all day so she could spend money on sneakers that she would never spend on an educational program.

And you know what?  Nike won’t give a damn.  In fact, they’re not supposed to care, since capitalism doesn’t have any room in the bottom line for human compassion.  It only focuses on corporate greed and maximizing the wealth of the company’s shareholders.  If you can squeeze another nickel out of the consumer and convince him to spend the last few cents of his welfare check in order to buy your product, then that makes him the sucker, not you.  I know this well, I’m a Finance Professor.

Nike should be ashamed and so should LeBron James.  LeBron James, a team player with humble beginnings, should be the first to head into the next board meeting and say “Enough is enough.  You can’t charge that much for my shoes (other athletes have done this in the past).”  Perhaps it means that Nike only earns $200 million instead of $400 million, but some lives and financial livelihoods might be saved in the process.  Also, it’s the right thing to do.

In my humble opinion, all of us should be vocal about boycotting Nike’s new sneaker.  Of course, most of the people reading this article aren’t going to buy the shoes and won’t be buying them for their kids.  But that doesn’t mean that we can’t communicate to one another via social media that Nike’s move is highly unethical, and that we are disappointed in the company for exploiting urban America in such a vicious and myopic way.   

I don’t care if they hold some charity basketball event in the hood, give away a few toys at Christmas or pass out turkeys at homeless shelters.  The oldest corporate trick in the book is to take a billion and give back a million, since we are all dumb enough for fall for the gimmicks.

Remember – Nike sneakers are only cool because black people validate them.   It’s time to start speaking up against this nonsense.  In a world where everyone seems to worship the dollar bill, perhaps we can remember that there is nothing wrong with encouraging companies to do the right thing.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. For more information, please visit


11 Responses to “Boycott Nike’s LeBron James, Lebron X Sneakers.”
  1. Monty says:

    If people can justify buying them, Nike can justify selling them. Smart marketing, clever people! If you want to boycott, boycott the parents that let there kids blow the money, when they should be putting into a savings account for their future!

  2. The problem is not how much the shoes cost, the problem is we don’t own a shoe company that we can direct where the money goes, like creating more businesses, which will create more jobs in our community. We could do a lot with the billions we and others give nike, health clinics, our own schools to re-educate our people to understand their value and not continue to be used thinking they’re making a lot of money because some top athletes are making tens of millions while nike and the other shoe companies are making billions off them. Instead of being endorsers, we need to become owners.

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

  3. AMC Irvin says:

    I cannot believe that shoes were just compared to technology that can help a person learn how to read and help them read and do things like math better. Yes, I think it is freakin’ stupid that poor kids whose parents don’t have the money to take care of them and depend on the government have those things. In fact, it makes me livid because I don’t have those things and both my husband and I work and don’t get a red cent from the government in assistance.

    However, comparing over priced shoes (and yes, $170 is still far, far too much to pay for some ugly shoes that will do the same thing as a $60 pair of shoes is overpriced) to things like iPads and iPhones is stupid. Those things are not marketed in the same way. Those devices have uses in businesses and even in education. My father uses one so that he can appraise houses more efficiently. No, he doesn’t *need* it, but it turns an 8 hour job into a 2 hour job with less driving. In fact, before computers were used for it, it could take the whole 7 day time period to do it since you would have to type up each report on a type writer… so… just… don’t. Just don’t.

    Dr. Watkins has a point about the shoes. They won’t last as long or be as educationally useful to anyone. Even the ones that monitor things? Well… I guess someone could make use of that if they knew what they were doing, but it’s a waste of money as far as I am concerned.

    Also, Apple is an American company that makes its products in America with American customer support and takes care of its American employees and gives them plenty of opportunity to succeed in that company. That is why it costs so much to buy.

    Focus on something as pathetic as shoes only high lights the consumerism that is rampant in our society, and I think that people should really check their purchases so that they might be able to achieve something rather than living in poverty and actively deciding to make nothing of themselves.

  4. Vichelle says:

    Dr. Watkins, this article is ludicrous. LeBron should be ashamed of himself? Really? Let’s come back to reality. I am a HS Teacher and our children who cannot read and cannot spell and cannot pass basic high school level courses are walking around with iPads, iPods, and iPhones, some of them have all three. These electronic devices are more expensive then these shoes, yet there is no call to Boycott Apple! Why is that? Is it because you have one of the three or your children have one or all of the three. Perhaps we should all get off our high horse and no call out “thy black man” LeBron James, because the fact is that there ARE people who can afford those shoes. If you are not one of them, so be in. You can’t afford a Lexus, so you end up with a Camry. That’s life.

  5. nate says:

    I guarantee u dat 99% of are.goin to get the 170 dollar me thats becomin the normal prize of a basketball sneakers so it is what it is….and yes i will b among the 99% purchasing the rethat i can affordlar version……who cares about a sneaker displaying my leap n speed i can getta stop watch for that….im a lebron james supporter so im goin to support ebrything he does in a sense i

  6. lloyd says:

    Why you should need to make this abig issue? Common sense must be use man! One who can afford to buy can buy, that’s all! Its not mandatory for everyone to buy this shoe! Maybe, someone will spend even his last dollar to buy this and that’s because its his happiness, to wear a signature items or anything that will fulfill his happiness! So why do we need to boycott for this one?? How about the Oakley?? And others that took our hundreds of dollars for the fashion that gave us happiness?!

  7. Robert says:

    The regular ones dont cost $315, they cost $170. The $315 version are Nike+ meaning they can track your speed, vertical and etc. so check your sources before telling people to boycott something without having your facts straight.

  8. A. S. Barlowe says:

    You make very good points. Part of the problem, however, is that athletes like Lebron live in a corporate bubble, a bubble they are virtually raised in from the time they show professional promise. Moreover, there isn’t a mass social/civil rights movement to influence, educate or make demands on them. They lack the sophistication and social awareness that athletes such as Jim Brown, Bill Russell, or Hank Aaron had in their prime partly because their path to success and relationship to corporate power is different. It’s hard to blame them for their naivete even if it is sometimes willful.

  9. Realman says:

    If black people were only half as enthusiastic about learning and doing well in school as they are about some worthless tennis shoes by Lebron or Michael Jordan, then the black community would be very well off.

  10. Umm Yeah says:

    I have been thinking about this. The other day there was an article celebrating Serena Williams fashion sense. They talked about her $4000 shoes and nobody cried fowl.

    So why then is Lebron’s shoe getting criticized so heavily at $315?


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