Brian Windhorst gives us the scoop on Big Ben’s shoe deal.
Ben Wallace is now a free agent, at least when it comes to shoes.
Last year when he was a member of the Chicago Bulls, Wallace launched a partnership for a signature shoe and clothing line with Steve & Barry’s. Like Stephon Marbury, Wallace joined up with the discount sporting goods retailer to offer low-priced shoes and apparel. One of 11 children, Wallace grew up in a family where money was tight and was pleased he could be part of an effort to offer low-cost shoes.
Like with Marbury, though, the good intentions did not work out.
“Things didn’t happen the way they said they would,” Wallace said. “They didn’t produce all the pieces they said they would.”
Last week, Steve & Barry’s announced it was liquidating its 173 remaining stores nationwide five months after it initially declared bankruptcy. Wallace became frustrated with the company earlier this year but has continued to wear his signature shoes, called the Big Ben, which had retailed for $14.98.
Earlier this year, Marbury sued Steve & Barry’s for $2 million in unpaid royalties. Wallace hasn’t taken such actions, but is looking for a new company to endorse.
“I like the shoes and I still have quite a few new pairs so I’ll wear them for a while,” Wallace said. “But I’ve been a free agent.”