In a recent interview with Esquire, Jordan Brand’s Senior Vice President, Howard “H” White, spoke about the role its sneakers have played in the deaths of innocent consumers, marking the first time the company has talked about it.

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Jordan Brand sneakers have been some of the most coveted shoes on the block for decades. Paired with their lucrative resale value, consumers are the ideal target for those in need of a quick buck.

In 1990, Sports Illustrated ran an infamous cover story with the headline “Your Sneakers or Your Life,” igniting a wave of debate on the issue. The nationwide conversation started then and hasn’t stop for the past 26 years.



The most recent incident occurred in February 2016, when 21-year-old Jamal Gaines was killed in his own New Jersey-based shoe store.

White offered his perspective on the senseless violence while attempting to put a positive spin on purchasing a pair of Jordans.

“It saddens me…It’s a shoe that I want so I’m going to take it,” White said. “Unfortunately those things happen, which are systemically bad. The good news is there are so many people that [sneaker culture] has inspired to do great things. The person that says, “Wow, man, I remember the first job I got because I had to have them and save money.” “My Mom got me those Cement IVs if I got good grades.”

While there’s not too much White can do to change the behavior of consumers, at least we know they’re paying attention and finally being vocal about it.