Ladies and gentlemen, buckle up and secure all personal items as we enter uncharted territory. This area can't be found on maps but might just be visible from the moon! Torch in hand, Detroit's Mark Bostic leads us deep into the darkness as we enter the 'Basement Of The J's' where he houses his mammoth 727 pair Jordan collection! An OG Jordan head who bought his first pair back in 1986, Bostic's sneaker stockpile feels like a museum... He's even numbered and photographed every box in his amazing archive. Since unveiling the basement to the world via YouTube, Mark's legendary collection has been the talk of sneaker addicts the world over - click the gallery to see why!
'My name is Mark Bostic aka JumpmanBostic. I've been in the Jordan shoe game since 1986 and haven't had another sneaker on my feet since then. I'm the same age as Michael Jordan and born the same month and year. My only claim to fame over Mr. Jordan is I'm two days older than him! I currently live in Detroit, MI and have 727 Jordan shoes in what's known to the sneaker world as the Basement Of The Jordans. I've gained a lot of support and notoriety from the sneaker community via my YouTube videos, Twitter, tumblr and Facebook (Mark Bostic).
I was honored to be invited to showcase some of my collection at Kixpo 2011 in Dallas, TX earlier this year. I was able to connect with some peers in the sneaker game, people I've admired and followed. I was greeted by many people that visited and was shown a lot of love and support. It's amazing that the people I look up to in the game also look up to me, support me and follow me.'
You have 727 pairs of Jordans. Is there any particular pair you're still chasing?
I'm currently at 727 Jordan shoes in the Basement Of The Jordans and yes, I'm still in search of many shoes. I can think of at least 30 off the top of my head, I really want the Thunder and Lightning IV from 2006, the 2010 Ray Allen XIII and the 2007 Levi pack to name a few. I'm a size 13 or 14 and as we all know there are less quantities of those sizes which makes it a harder cop.
Do you cop at the same spot every time? What's your relationship like with the clerks in the store?
I have a couple of stores that sell Jordan Brand shoes and other products; my main store is Mr Alan's. I've purchased roughly 200 pairs from that company, they know me and know what type of Jordan I'm looking to cop. I seek out one salesperson, Annette, she is the main seller of Jordan items to me. The second spot is Sole Fly Sneaker Boutique in Miami. A fellow Jordan collector is a manager there and advises me of Jordan shoes. I use all types of resources for copping my Jordans; including Eastbay, Flightclubny.com, pickyourshoes.com, Footlocker, Champs, Footaction and Finishline.
My relationship with the clerks in the stores is great. Most know or have heard of me from YouTube. I didn't know I was known like that until I went Dallas, Texas earlier this year for KIXPO 2011. I was at the mall with another fellow sneaker head from Dallas, Kurt Elias (meandmyjs78) who showed me around the city while I was there. I was just shocked, amazed, thrilled and appreciative to the fellow sneaker head family who approached me and told me they watch the videos and wanted to meet me. Some asked for autographs, had me sign shirts and shoes. I never thought I was known and respected like that, I met some awesome people while in Dallas and I still keep in touch with many of them. I did several videos; you can check them out on my YouTube page.
Do you think the Basement Of The J's is the most famous basement in history? I can't think of any other basements with 6500 subscribers!
Now I do! Haha. I don't know of any other basement full of Jordans. I've had a few people come to visit the Basement Of The Jordans from as far away as Colorado (Derrick Franklin) and a few from Detroit; Teko (aka SoleSurvivorDetroit) and Paul (aka SevenMilePaul). There's others I've chatted with on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube who stated they wanna see the basement. I told them to just hit me up when you're in the area.
I'm really appreciative to the followers, fans and subscribers of my page. I love to talk shoes and I always try to respond back to them, most say I can't believe you responded. They say most so-called famous sneaker heads don't respond. To me, without them supporting me I wouldn't be known and followed. Following comes by word of mouth from others and the respect you show to others.
Quality-wise, how do you think today's retros compare to previous years?
The quality has declined over the years and it's very noticeable. Many people make a big deal out of the recent materials mainly from 2008 to the present, they still buy the shoes though. I've done comparison videos of older shoes to the newer retros just to show some differences, I expect and accept the changes in materials. The prices and availability of materials have caused changes along with the economy, people just need to accept it and either buy or don't buy in my opinion.
Today's retros have many differences from the originals, and previous retros. Some differences are materials, slight colorway changes, Jumpman logo instead of Nike Air, and paint chipping on certain retro models. A lot of the retros also run a half size to a full size smaller, while some are true to size. Many people make a big issue out of the Jumpman on the shoe saying it's either too fat or too skinny. Many make the mistake of calling a shoe fake because of that, but I'm yet to see a totally identical Jumpman on both shoes. I've accepted the quality, material, size, color and fit differences in the newer shoes compared to the older shoes by Jordan Brand.
On your YouTube channel, you not only display your sneakers, but you have also made daily videos chronicling your outfit for a year. Where did that come from?
I was doing videos and the subscribers to my YouTube page took a big interest in the outfits I have to match a lot of my shoes. I decided to challenge myself and dedicate myself to 365 days of videos called the Jordan Clothes Of The Day (JCOTD). The subscribers and viewers really liked this and it opened people's eyes to not only the different Jordan shoes but also clothing, hats, socks, jackets, etc by Jordan Brand.
It looks as though your Jordan apparel collection is just as extensive as your collection of Jordan sneakers. Have you always bought the matching tracksuits and tees with the sneakers?
Thanks for the compliment. I've always tried to purchase the matching tees, sweat suits, hoodies, jeans, jackets etc to match my shoes. To me the apparel makes the shoe pop more and draws attention from your upper body to your feet. The apparel game is a must to me, that is another reason for the Jordan Clothes Of The Day videos. I still have apparel I didn't get a chance to show! Doing that year of videos had me saying ‘wowww' to myself. I just love shoes, that's obvious. I also love the Jordan Brand apparel to match the shoes. I love the sites that have shirts for purchase to go with recent retros like 3jtees.bigcartel.com, jordandepot.com, Shewz.com, boxheadshirts.com and jordansaturdays just to name a few.
I have approximately thirty tracksuits. The good thing about Jordan Brand apparel is you can wear most of the gear with multiple models of shoes in the same colorway. I usually just change up my tee or pullover sweatshirt. You can get really creative with your apparel and create different combinations.
Which piece of Jordan memorabilia in the basement would you consider the most rare or unusual?
I cherish all of the Jordan memorabilia I have, I must say right now my most rare piece is the Hall Of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony ticket on Friday, September 11, 2009. It could also be the Fleer rookie card or my collection of 19 Wheaties cereal boxes.
Your kids have also popped up in the videos. How many pairs have you bought for them?
My little kids Khalil (5) and Khalyn (4) really love the videos and either wearing their shoes or putting on mine. My oldest son DJ is 17, he has his set of Jordan shoes, he also likes other brands. I have no problem with him liking and wearing what he likes, the Jordan-only shoe love is my choice haha. My three children have approximately 120 pairs of Jordan shoes between them.
When people you know find out about the basement, do they think you're crazy or give you props?
Great question, I get both to be honest. Some people feel its a waste of money, to them I say it's my money and I'd rather spend it on what I love instead of drugs and alcohol. The money I've spent on my collection, people have spent on cigarettes, liquor, illegal things, cars, homes etc. What I'm getting at is, it's a hobby. A love I have for a certain brand of shoes, apparel, memorabilia and Michael Jordan's on and off-court success.
On the other hand many people give a lot of support for the longevity of the sneakers in my collection, the variety, the fact that I wear and buy what I LIKE and not what others feel are hot and in right now. I love the Trunners, fusions, hybrids, Team Jordans, player editions, retros, boots, casual shoes, slides etc.
I've had so many people say ‘I never heard of those shoes', or ‘thanks for rocking your shoes'. They love when I say, ‘Let's go straight to the foot game' I just came up with that during a video and it was a hit, I'm known for that. I had some t-shirts made with that slogan and they sold out.
True sneaker heads respect the collection and the variety. The hate I get is from people who are hypebeasts; they're in the sneaker culture to stunt not for the love. They just look for what's hot and spend money for one shoe just for that so-called status. My message to people who ask me what they should buy because they're new to the sneaker culture. I tell them just buy what you like and don't get caught up in the hype of the culture by seeking other people's acceptance.
Can you see yourself stopping any time?
No, I really don't. This is a love I've had for a long time even before 1986 when I started with strictly Jordan shoes. My oldest son only wears a size 11 shoe, my little man might wear a size 13? He is already saying, ‘Daddy are these all my shoes when I get older?' I tell him ‘yes.' I still have the hunger, fire and love for the sneaker culture. I have a lot of support and since my first ever sneaker show at KIXPO 2011 in Dallas I've gained a lot more support, love and following. I've been invited to several shows already for 2012 in different states and that's a new phase I'm excited about.
What's going to happen when you fill the basement?
I've been thinking a lot about that, the basement is pretty full now. I have racks on wheels that allow me to move the shoes around. I can probably fit two more racks in the basement, that will be approximately 130 more pairs of J's. I'm really looking into moving the Basement Of The Jordans to a Warehouse Of Jordans, Memorabilia and Apparel. I'd like to put the collection in a location where other people can come and see the different styles, models and looks of Jordans that have been made and that I have.
And finally, the old cliche - which is your favourite pair?
My favorite pair of numbered Jordans is the VIII. Specifically, the playoff VIII is my favorite pair. At this time however, my favorite is a pair I just added to my collection earlier this year; this shoe is a one-of-one sample shoe for Mr. Jordan. It's the white and red Air Jordan 2010, which was once owned by the man himself. I can't express how lucky I feel to have this shoe. I had to take it straight to the foot game when I received it. I did a video on opening the box and trying on the shoe that Mr. Michael Jordan once owned. That shoe was a hit at KIXPO in Dallas.
Before we finish up, I know you wanted to throw in a couple of shout outs
I wanna give thanks everyone who supports the sneaker culture and me as a member of the sneaker culture. I wanna thank you for the interview, my wife and family for the support and love for me and my love for shoes, all of the followers on the sites listed previously. I just wanna acknowledge some that have truly helped me get some exposure in the sneaker community:
My son DJ, without him I would have done a YouTube video, johnnybannas1990, jstar25, soledivida,Franalations, DFranklin, MustonParry, 3jtees, jordansaturdays, blacksanta24, solesurvivordetroit, ghettodreamz10, xcusememz, meandmyjs78, Kixpo, xxdeadstockxx, Grincho484, JordanDepot, BoxHeadShirts, Shewz.com, RCH89 and MarvelousMane. There's many, many more. I'll say thank you EVERYONE who supports me.