At first I liked Grant Hill better than Penny. Most of my friends idolized Grant at that time but I had this sense of ‘pride' of not wanting to join the Hill bandwagon and started claiming to idolize Penny for the sake of being different! Grant Hill was huge and I mean HUGE in my hometown! So huge that there was someone dumb enough to open a FILA concept store (it closed down in 2001) filled with thousands of Grant Hill posters, Hill height measurements and a cut-out of the infamous Fila cushioning technology A2. Hell, my hometown didn't even get shipments of Jordans let alone shoes that were worn by Penny Hardaway!
It was in '95 that my dad went to Taiwan for a business trip and I asked him to buy me a pair of Penny signature shoes. He did just that and bought me a pair of Black/White Nike Lambaste. When I saw them for the first time, I didn't like them - no I hated em! They were plain and dull, plus they were also shitty b-ball kicks. I thought that since they had no visible cushioning technology, the Lambastes and Nike must be ‘inferior'. Nevertheless, I balled in them and rocked them to school until the soles gave up on me just to show my friends that I was wearing something other than the Filas. Oddly enough, my man-love for Penny grew and grew! I began collecting his trading cards (they have no value now), bought his jerseys (a few of them were counterfeits) and even tried to copy how he played ball (in which I never succeed). But at that time I didn't have any passion for sneakers whatsoever.
It was not until 1999 that my love for shoes blossomed. I'd moved to Australia a year earlier and met a friend who was a huge sneaker head, while shopping for a pair of Air Max Battle Force. We became good friends and he told me everything he knew about Nikes and the sneaker culture. I initially couldn't believe that there were actually people dumb enough to buy a pair of basketball shoes just to look at them! My first attempt at buying and keeping a pair of shoes on ice happened to be my first ever Jordan - AJXV Bred. My girlfriend also bought me a pair of Sydney Olympic AJVI and my collection started to grow slowly but steadily.
I was introduced to NT in 2002 and SF in 2004 but I was never a forum person. Thanks to NT, SF and this forum:http://bbs.3ak.cn/read.php?tid=6398 , for the opportunity to gather enough information on Pennys' kicks, which proved useful during my '05 ‘around the world' Pennys kicks hunting trip - and more importantly, for widening my sneaker knowledge.
By Marco Budiono