Bobbito Garcia dropped a B-Ball bomb ten years ago when his definitive New York sneaker culture anthology, Where’d You Get Those? was published. To celebrate its anniversary, the book has been repackaged with a new cover and some juicy updates. We grabbed some of Kool Bob Love’s precious time just before the birth of his first child to talk about the re-up and what he’s feeling, and not feeling, about the sneaker world these days.
How do you stack writing the book up against your other achievements?
I count authoring Where’d You Get Those? as one of my biggest life accomplishments. As you’ll learn when you read the new afterword I wrote for the 10th Anniversary edition, I didn’t have great confidence as a writer coming up, and received low grades at university. So imagine how I felt when the New York Times and all these literary publications were singing high praises!
How is it different from the first version?
There’s a new cover, designed by artist Todd ‘REAS’ James. There’s a new intro, written by Elliot Peter Curtis, who offered the first university level course on the culture, called ‘Sneakerology 101’ at Carnegie Mellon. He actually used my book as the main text. There’s also a new afterword, in which I wrote about what’s happened in my life and career in the 10 years since the book was first published. Lastly, I updated the Post ‘87 Slept-On Butters chapter with new selections and photos. I hope people dig it!
Any additions to the ‘Thou Shall Not’ guide?
Ah man! I saw a hard rock, that’s old school slang for a really tough kid, on the train and he had on those hi-tops with the huge wings hanging off the ankles. I couldn’t take him seriously! There’s more than a couple of styles and designs that I think 10 to 20 years from now people are going to feel ridiculous for having bought into the hype to wear. But it’s all good, I love when people experiment and try to be different, but there are points when they go too far. I didn’t add anything to the Thou Shalt Not chapter, though. The main portion of the book covering 1960-1987 is unchanged. I nailed it the first time.
How have you seen New York basketball AND sneaker culture change in the last decade?
People here care about what they are wearing and want to be unique now just as much as my generation in the 70s and 80s did. The difference now is that you can have celebrity in the space way beyond your hood, community, town, etcetera thanks to the Internet. Another change I’ve noticed in the last couple of years is that younger ballplayers aren’t so bent on matching their sneakers and socks to their uniforms. Not a big deal if the colors at least go together, but the clashes look terrible! I don’t know that I approve of this.
And finally, what was the last pair of sneakers you lost your mind over?
As you’ll learn in my new afterword, I’ve really gotten into the donating sneakers to various non-profits, like Soles4Souls, Samaritan Feet, Hoops Africa, and Nike Reuse A Shoe. I was in Harare, Zimbabwe, and saw a ballplayer at a clinic wearing a pair of shoes that I had mailed five years prior. They were dogged but I was told they kept getting passed on to younger family members as the older ones would outgrow them. It felt good to see I had put a smile on more than a couple of faces. You can peep the entire story in the 10th Anniversary Edition. Enjoy, and props to Sneaker Freaker on your own anniversary too!
The tenth anniversary edition of ‘Where’d You Get Those’ is now available at all slicker than your average book stores.