Chuck Taylor, All Star: The True Story of the Man behind the Most Famous Athletic Shoe in History

Chuck Taylor, All Star: The True Story of the Man behind the Most Famous Athletic Shoe in History

Chuck Taylor, All Star: The True Story of the Man behind the Most Famous Athletic Shoe in History

Chuck Taylor, All Star: The True Story of the Man behind the Most Famous Athletic Shoe in History

Synopsis

His is the name on the label of the legendary Converse All-Star basketball shoe. Though the shoe has been worn by hundreds of millions, few, if any, know a thing about the man behind the name. Some even believe that there is no such person, that he is a marketer's fabrication like Betty Crocker. But "Chuck Taylor" was more than a rubber-soled, double-wall canvas-body shoe with a circular ankle patch, with a bright blue star in the middle and a signature across it. He may not have been a Michael Jordan, but Chuck Taylor did earn the right to be the face behind the most popular shoe in basketball.

For this first-ever biography, Abraham Aamidor went on a three-year quest to learn the true story of Chuck Taylor. The search took him across the country, tracking down leads, and separating truth from legend--discovering that the truth, warts and all, was much more interesting than the myth. He found Chuck involved with "industrial league" basketball in the 1920s, working as a wartime coach with the Army Air Force, and organizing clinic after clinic. He was a true "ambassador of basketball" in Europe and South America as well as all over the United States. And he was, to be sure, a consummate marketing genius. He was elected to the Sporting Goods Hall of Fame before his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. This biography makes it clear that he belongs in both.

Excerpt

by Dean Smith

When Abraham Aamidor called from Indiana to interview me for his new biography of Chuck Taylor, I was amazed that someone had not written one years before, because Taylor was such an important figure in America’s basketball history. Obviously, I’m extremely pleased that Abe is filling this void. It’s a service to all who love basketball and its roots.

One of my earliest memories of Chuck Taylor is about the shoe, not the man. Prior to the start of practice for our 1951–52 University of Kansas basketball team, coached by Dr. Forrest C. (Phog) Allen, team members were given new red “Keds” basketball shoes, which surprised us all. We had always worn the “Chucks,” but Dr. Allen insisted that we switch to “Keds.” After all, the crimson color in that shoe was, and still is, one of the colors for the University of Kansas athletic teams. I didn’t understand why Dr. Allen changed our shoes, because most of us thought the “Chucks” were the best basketball shoe of that day, as well as by far the most popular.

Only recently did Abe explain to me why Dr. Allen outfitted our team for “Keds” and dumped the “Chucks.” Taylor and Dr. Allen had put on a basketball clinic together, and Chuck, with his outstanding and unusual passing skills, had . . .

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