The infamous story published in a 1990 issue of Sports Illustrated put the national spotlight on people willing to do anything for the newest pair of Jordans. The story of James David Martin leading Michael Eugene Thomas into the woods and killing him to get his pair of two-week-old Jordans—shoes that didn't even fit him—became a seminal story, one that didn't reflect Martin's violent, non-sneaker-related history. But now, 25 years later, is that cover image of someone being held up at gunpoint for their sneakers still indicative of the current state of sneaker crime? Complex Sneakers published a huge piece looking at the current state of sneaker crime.
While the reality in some neighborhoods two decades ago was that jacking someone else's sneakers was commonplace, the reality is it was not significantly more than people stealing other sports-related merchandise like jerseys or jackets. While the story set off the sparks in the SI readers, they didn't cross over much with the sneaker culture, which created essentially a bunch of armchair activists. The mainstream culture latched onto the story and the reputation has somewhat stuck with sneaker culture since the publication. But where are we now? Most statistics point to the fact that sneaker crime is down, mostly because there is less crime in general. There are still sneaker-related crimes committed and some of them hit the news headlines but the Sneaker piece goes into things much deeper, addressing the causes and symptoms, so head over there to read the full thing.