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

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9780253346988: Chuck Taylor, All Star: The True Story of the Man behind the Most Famous Athletic Shoe in History
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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.

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About the Author:

Abraham Aamidor, a staff writer for The Indianapolis Star, has reported for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. He is author of Real Feature Writing and Real Sports Reporting (IUP, 2003) and resides in Carmel, Indiana.

From Publishers Weekly:

Chuck Taylor, known best as the namesake of a shoe, made his fame with the help of great skill in both basketball and marketing. Called "the most famous name in sports that no one knows anything about," Taylor was known in the 1930s, '40s and '50s as a pro basketball player, a clinician who taught basketball in high schools and colleges across the country, as coach of the Army Air Force's "Air-Tecs" basketball team and as a salesman. Legend, which Aamidor has found is mostly true, tells of his taste for expensive cars and hotel rooms and his overzealous use of his Converse expense account. "Chucks," the canvas high-top shoes bearing his name, have held their place in youth pop culture for decades as the cool, everyday sneaker. Although Aamidor does well to reinsert Taylor's name in basketball history, he also shows that Taylor will remain most well-known for his shoes: the biography ends with the history of the Converse shoe company, and the "Chucks" logo and shoes are pictured throughout.
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