As I write this, we are in the midst of the 2017 NBA Finals and the Warriors are taking the Cavs to school, KD is playing like he doesn't want to repeat the crying hug he gave his momma after losing the 2012 finals. I'm a Lebron fan and I'd hate to see him lose in another final again but I believe in meritocracy, they best team will win. *UPDATE* Congrats to the Warriors. When we think of current superstars like Lebron, KD, Curry, Chris Paul etc, we acknowledge the greats like Magic, Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain who paved the way for them to be who they are, earning the dollars and endorsement deals they have. But who paved the way for the greats who have rightfully earned a spot in the hall of fame, especially those of African descent? In 1891, Dr James Naismith created the game of basketball in Springfield Massachusetts and the Basketball Hall of Fame located in Springfield is appropriately named after him. Not to far from Springfield, in a town called Lowell a young gentleman by the name of Harry Lew, would be a pioneer literally paving the way as the first African American to professionally play the sport. This is his story. The unsung hero who the Colchester shoes were made in his honor. Oh btw, I live in Springfield MA :)
Quick History on Harry Lew
Harry "Bucky" Lew was born in Lowell Massachusetts on Januarty 4, 1884. His basketball career started at a local YMCA and was later signed to the Pawtucketville Athletic Club team where he was pretty much a bench warmer, not because he wasn't a skilled player but because of the racial tension his coach had with him. Now, this was in 1902, can you imagine the racial tension back then? The racial atmosphere was so real that even when players were injured his coach still wouldn't put him in, sometimes playing his team 4 against 5. But talent is talent and it will speak for itself regardless of race, crowds started demanding Lew get put in and he finally got his shot November 2, 1902. The racial tension would spill over to the court with players from the other team spewing derogatory words and getting really physical with him but anyone who plays basketball knows that you can't just get punk'd on the court, you have to return the favor and that he did! The Pawtucketville Athletic Club Basketball team was a part of the New England Basketball League where he played for three years then left. He spent the next 20 years after that barnstorming through the country with various teams he organized, played and coached. Barnstorming is pretty much what the Harlem Globetrotters do, tour around the country doing exhibition games. By the Time the NBA formed he was 65 and little is known about his willingness to participate in it, (it was 1949, racial tension still existed as it does in 2017) but he definitely paved the way for the Boston Celtics being the first team to draft a black player, have an all black starting five and the first black coach. That is Hall of Fame worthy!
Overview Of Colchester White Low Tops
Admittedly, at first glance I thought they were Converse sneakers. The more I looked into it I realized that not only were they NOT Converse but this isn't your typical sneaker, there's a story to it. When Colchester Rubber Shoe Co sent these pair, I don't think they were aware of how their story is very connected to where I live. The Basketball Hall of Fame is right around the corner from my house, where Harry Lew so rightfully deserves to be in, and he was born in Lowell Mass which is close to Boston, about an hr and a half east from where I stay. Colchester sneakers are the first basketball sneakers ever made in 1893. Think about that next time you think of Jordans. Further research shows that Marquis Converse worked for the Colchester Rubber Shoe Company before it went under and left to create his own company in 1908. However, Converse didn't release their first basketball sneaker until Charles "Chuck" Taylor came into the picture in 1917. So yes, Converse Chuck Taylors are the most popular but Colchester is the original. This is a vintage style classic shoeis distinctively different from it's converse lookalike. These particular ones I got have an upper layer that is canvas coupled with rubber going around the bottom of the shoes from the sole to the the outsole to the toe cap. I chose the low white low tops because they are summer appropriate. This pair is more of a stylish shoe even though you can still ball in them. Check out the Colchester website for the other colors and high tops they have, pretty sick sneaker!
As I walked through the Basketball Hall Of Fame, I noticed that Charles "chuck" Taylor was inducted in 1969 and rightfully so, couldn't find anyone to tell me why Harry Lew wasn't or who he was. There was only one honorary mention of him in the chronograph of the history of basketball. Shout out to Colchesters for rediscovering this shoe and bringing awareness to this noteworthy gentleman. Not only are the shoes stylish, they are different from it's Converse counterparts and serves a bigger purpose. Even without wearing this shoe, I can't forget about Harry Lew and however far this blog can reach I also want to bring awareness to this pioneer in basketball because he is truly Hall of Fame Worthy.