It’s Gotta Be The Shoes, Coop

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Ever since Michael Jordan literally made his first leap into the National Basketball Association, every young child wanted to be like Mike.

They wanted everything. The shorts. The jersey. The socks.

Above all, these admirers wanted the sneakers, the famous shoes that gave Jordan the spring before he soared.

The Air Jordan shoe brand has progressively grown in popularity since its origin. Nike has helped the legend of the Jordan’s – also known as J’s – to be the ultimate reason the NBA superstar succeeded in his career.

When the pressure was building, the shoes were always there for Jordan.

In the 1980’s, Nike created commercials involving celebrity Spike Lee and Jordan. The two performed in several skits, endorsing the newest Jordan shoes. Lee, known as Mars Blackmon, had several lines that are remembered by lifetime fans of the J’s.

One commercial claimed no one could guard Jordan. “Nobody, nobody, nobody,” Lee said. Out of the entire series, the two are remembered for Lee’s famous line, “It’s gotta be the shoes, Money.” Money, of course, is referencing Jordan.

Fast-forward 27 years, and Jordan’s shoes continue to be relevant, even though Jordan, the player, has been officially retired from the NBA for 11 years. Nearly every basketball player has a favorite pair of Jordan’s. It’s a legendary shoe that has been, and probably will forever be, passed down from generation to generation.

Regardless of preference, there’s a Jordan shoe out there for everyone.

“I'm a huge Jordan fan, but I'm not a fan of his new shoes,” Ivo Baltic said. “I only like his Retro’s. I don't like his new stuff. They just look funky. I got to go with the originals, the Retro’s, the Concord’s, the XII’s, stuff like that.”

As Jordan’s became more popular, other athletes began to release their own shoes. LeBron James and Kobe Bryant have their own brands with Nike, Derrick Rose is releasing shoes with Adidas and even Jimmer Fredette has a brand with Spalding.

LeBron’s and Kobe’s are popular amongst the Bobcats. Both Baltic and Reggie Keely favor the Kobe VI’s, while Nick Kellogg, who several players claim has the best shoes, sports the newest LeBron X’s.

None have become more famous than the J’s, though. When the Ohio Bobcats step onto the hardwood at the Convocation Center, it’s likely that at least one of the players is rocking a pair of J’s.

From the style to the comfort, the quality of the shoe outmatches any opponent.

“You've always got to rank Jordan’s A-plus,” Keely said. “They're never below an A.”

Point guard D.J. Cooper has been sighted wearing a pair of Jordan’s he received from NBA superstar Chris Paul. The senior participated in the Chris Paul Elite Point Camp this summer, where Paul gave each player a pair of Jordan CP3 sneakers.

So far this season, Cooper has been earning an A-plus in his style of play on the floor. He’s been averaging career-highs in field goal percentage (.430) and three-point percentage (.352), all the while doing so by playing fewer minutes per game (31.6).

There can only be one explanation.

It’s gotta be the shoes, Coop.

Sure, Cooper received great instruction from Paul and several great point guards, but the shoes don’t lie.

With the pressure at its highest against St. Bonaventure, Cooper beautifully assisted Jon Smith on a backdoor cut to put the Bobcats up 63-62 with 1:16 left. It was great play calling by Jim Christian, but even better execution by Cooper and the shoes.

The Bonnies struck back and retook the lead with 0:49 left, but Cooper had a response.

With only 11 seconds off the clock, Cooper shot a deep, 25-foot shot to gain a two-point lead for Ohio. Two more made free throws by the senior point guard sealed the deal for Ohio’s sixth win of the season.

As “In Coop We Trust” tweets exploded the Twitter airwaves, there was one key to Cooper’s attire that gave him an advantage.

It’s gotta be the shoes, Coop.

“The Jordan’s, they give you an extra boost, extra confidence, some swag,” Keely said. “That's important, so that helps.”

His teammates believe it. The fans believe it. The team managers believe it. Even Mars Blackmon would have to say, “It’s gotta be the shoes.”

Cooper keeps it simple, though. In a way, it resembles Jordan’s character in the commercial.

When Lee claimed, “It’s gotta be the shoes, Money,” Jordan always responded out of frustration, “No, Mars.”

So, it’s gotta be the shoes, right?

“I wouldn't say it's the shoes,” Cooper said. “I'd say it's in the gym, working out.”

That makes sense. That kind of improvement within one year can typically trace back to the practice time in the gym during the offseason.

But if in fact it can’t, then there’s only one explanation.

It’s gotta be the shoes, Coop.