Athletic Supporters

ESPN's The Life holds up the sensitive side of jock culture

Most entertainingly, an Atlanta shoe store that sells special sizes opens the door to a world of very large men. One salesman brandishes size-26 alligator shoes whose bulk suggests some medieval relic. Don King holds the sales record, having dropped $64,000 on 110 pairs. But he would seem to have serious competition from Grizzlies center Ike Austin, whose 14 pairs of size 18s ("gators, ostriches, dress shoes, casuals, sandals") the store arranges to have overnighted in from California so that Austin can pick them up the same day he's in town. Handed an endless olive-green loafer, Austin regards it warily. "Ike, don't be afraid! Put the shoe on your foot!" the owner barks, an overbearing dad steering his picky-eater son to the plate.

When he finally does hit the register, Austin hides from his mile-long receipt, which totals a mere five grand. On the way out, though, he barely makes it past the window display: "I want this shoe, that shoe..."

Mr. Ed in the slammer: The prison rodeo at Angola from ESPN's The Life
Mr. Ed in the slammer: The prison rodeo at Angola from ESPN's The Life

Sappy? Sure. Confected? Probably. But in the annals of male viewing eccentricities--see: Smackdown, Jackass, Real Sex #87, etc.--a sentimental trip to the shoe store should probably be considered healthy viewing.

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