Check out these Grosby Billy Ray Bates Black Superman hi-tops

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I was in Metro Department store in Market Market when I chanced upon these kicks. Marked down from P3995 to P1600, I found myself incapable of leaving them in the store.

I grew up from age five to age fifteen abroad, but we would spend a month on home leave in the Philippines and did what every Filipino kid did in the ’80s: watch the PBA.

My idols were Gilbey’s Gary Vargas and Great Taste’s incomparable Bogs Adornado. The shorts were short (so were the players) but the game had an atmosphere missing in today’s PBA. Willy Generalao, Bernie Fabiosa, Atoy Co, Bobby Jaworski, and Mon Fernandez. This was the PBA of my childhood.

And the greatest import of them all: Billy Ray Bates, the Black Superman. He starred for Crispa and Ginebra, and is in the league’s Hall of Fame.

Grosby shoes, like Kaypee, were a huge brand in Pinoy hoops back then. In those days people still pronounced that obscure brand, “Nike” like “bike.” I remember Grosby’s cheesy TV commercial that used the “Blue Suede Shoes” tune, rewording it to be “Grosby Shoes.”

The brand seems to have been revived with a series of these delightfully retro designs. The shoes are now made in China instead of Marikina, but they are a gloriously kitschy part of Pinoy hoops history.

Can’t wait to slip these on and celebrate a bygone era of Pinoy sports.

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3 responses to “Check out these Grosby Billy Ray Bates Black Superman hi-tops

  1. hi sir, would you happen to know if these shoes are still out there? i want to buy them because my father named me after the legendary PBA import. 🙂 hope you can find time to reply. thanks.

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