TELL US ABOUT BECOMING A SNEAKERHEAD/DESIGNER/ INFLUENCER? I got into sneakers in 1975 when I was nine years old. I wanted to be cool. When I dove heavy into playing basketball in the 1980s, I wanted to be different and unique. I became an influencer in 1990 when I wrote the first article in media history about sneaker culture. It was published in the “Source Magazine”. As a designer, that started in 1980 when I decided to paint my sneakers in colours that weren’t available at the local shops. That’s what got me a rep in the hip-hop world by the late ’80s. I was wearing sneakers that no one else had, or no one knew existed, ha ha. DID YOU EVER GET CHASED OR GET IN A FIGHT FOR A PAIR OF SNEAKERS? IF NOT, HAVE YOU EVER WITNESSED IT? Never. People usually fight over popular sneakers. I’ve always been more prone to wear models and brands that others wouldn’t think to own. I’ve never seen anyone get jumped for their sneakers, but I have seen kids walking home with their socks on unfortunately. That was in the ’80s when NYC was ruthless. The city is safer now for the most part. HOW MANY PAIRS OF SNEAKERS DO YOU OWN? Not many at all. I actively donate to non-profit organisations that help get sneakers to developing or disaster-struck areas. Please do the same if you own too many sneakers yourself. They take new, lightly worn, or beat up shoes. All are helpful. (Check out www.vsoles4souls.org, www. samaritansfeet.org and www.hoopsafrica.org) HAVE YOU EVER HAD A FALLING-OUT WITH SOMEONE OVER A PAIR OF SNEAKERS? Never, and never would or will. It’s not that serious. I used to get mad back in the day when I was younger if someone stepped on my sneakers when they were fresh out the box. That’s because I didn’t have much money, so the mind set was to make your sneakers last looking clean as long as possible. Nowadays, scruffs are fine. I’ve seen plenty of ballplayers throughout the world play barefooted in 100-degree heat, on concrete. Changes your perspective.