Harvey Pollack’s New Shoes

I am currently in the middle of writing about the MVP race in the NBA. Since there are several very good candidates–and I have a full-time job–this post is taking a while to complete. So I want to give you a little glimpse into my time with Harvey Pollack in Philadelphia while you’re waiting (on the edge of your seat, I assume).

My second week on the job, Harvey wants to take me to lunch. As we’re walking out of the Wells Fargo Center, he casually says, “Do you see my shoes?” I look down, notice he’s wearing a pair of Chuck Taylor high tops he wasn’t wearing the week before, and nod. “Do you know who gave me these shoes? Dr. J gave me them back in 1985. I’ve never worn them before.” After I respond in shock, he continues, “but my old shoes were wearing down and I needed new ones. I figured, ‘why would I buy new shoes when I already have a perfectly good pair?'”

So this man decided instead of buying another $50 pair of New Balances, he would rather christen an unworn, 30-year-old collector’s item given to him by one of the most exciting players in NBA history, likely worth 10x that amount. I had no idea how to respond to that, other than sheer awe. Not only did he have a pair of brand new 1980’s Chuck Taylors (!) given to him by Dr. J (!) but he decided after 30 years that they were no longer cool enough to sit around and take up space! Unbelievable!

This is one of the many great stories that show what type of guy Harvey Pollack is: a legend, plain and simple. When this anecdote is just a casual thing he tosses out because I happened to start working with him the week I did and he happened to take me to lunch that day, you can imagine some of the ones he has stockpiled over 68 years of working in the league.

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