Travel Notes Part 3: $20 Throwbacks

1980 Houston Astros Home Throwback Jersey From Mitchell & Ness, With #34 and 'Ryan' On the Jersey (Nolan Ryan)

Click on the image to see more detail
Price: $375.00

I dont plan on making this a REAL complicated diatribe, just a cost camparison and some observations.

Ever since hip-hop innovators and style avatars Outkast appeared on MTV sporting old school Houston Astros jerseys with rainbow colors and '70s flavor, the rap world has seen an emerging trend in old school/vintage sports apparel. Supporting this trend is Mitchell and Ness, a Philadelphia sporting goods company that produces thousands of authentic jerseys from seasons past, and has certainly set the industry standard. In addition to producing authentic team jerseys, the company manufactures exact replicas of those worn by individual players. Instead of just obtaining an old school Astros jersey, you can buy a detailed copy of Nolan Ryan's jersey from a specific year.

Authentic Mitchell and Ness jerseys will cost anywhere from $200-500, a heftier price than buying a modern jersey at the mall, but it is the trademark of authenticity that raises the cost. While few hip-hop stars own as much Mitchell and Ness as Outkast (rumored to have purchased about $25,000 worth of authentic gear), others have been seen in videos "discovering" forgotten logos and athletes.
by Michael Calderone

Reubin Harley routinely helps customers get the "exclusive joints" at the Mitchell & Ness Sporting Goods store. "They tug you like, 'Look, I want this first,' " Harley said. The company makes the throwback gear, with jerseys averaging about $200 to $300. Mitchell & Ness has serviced everyone from the aforementioned artists to Jadakiss, Mick Jagger and athletes Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson.

"Exclusivity — they want to premiere it, then let the streets kill it," Harley said. "As soon as [the clothes get shown in videos] we can't keep enough inventory in the store."

"The NBA old-school jerseys are the hottest thing in the country," said Mitchell & Ness owner Peter Capolino. "I can't make enough of them."

Mitchell & Ness owns licensing for old-school jerseys for NFL, MLB and NBA teams. The company has an extensive research center, which includes more than 1 million magazines that serve as a reference tool for jerseys' designers.
Jay-Z, Nelly, Fabolous Seek Uniforms That Don't Conform


MARX TURNS TO FETISHISM to make sense of the apparently magical quality of the commodity: "A commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing. But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties" (163). Fetishism in anthropology refers to the primitive belief that godly powers can inhere in inanimate things (e.g., in totems). Marx borrows this concept to make sense of what he terms "commodity fetishism." As Marx explains, the commodity remains simple as long as it is tied to its use-value. When a piece of wood is turned into a table through human labor, its use-value is clear and, as product, the table remains tied to its material use. However, as soon as the table "emerges as a commodity, it changes into a thing which transcends sensuousness" (163). The connection to the actual hands of the laborer is severed as soon as the table is connected to money as the universal equivalent for exchange. People in a capitalist society thus begin to treat commodities as if value inhered in the objects themselves, rather than in the amount of real labor expended to produce the object. As Marx explains, "The mysterious character of the commodity-form consists therefore simply in the fact that the commodity reflects the social characteristics of men's own labour as objective characteristics of the products of labour themselves, as the socio-natural properties of these things" (164-65). What is, in fact, a social relation between people (between capitalists and exploited laborers) instead assumes "the fantastic form of a relation between things" (165).

Dress As an Expression of the Pecuniary Culture
But the function of dress as an evidence of ability to pay does not end with simply showing that the wearer consumes valuable goods in excess of what is required for physical comfort. Simple conspicuous waste of goods is effective and gratifying as far as it goes; it is good prima facie evidence of pecuniary success, and consequently prima facie evidence of social worth. But dress has subtler and more far-reaching possibilities than this crude, first-hand evidence of wasteful consumption only. If, in addition to showing that the wearer can afford to consume freely and uneconomically, it can also be shown in the same stroke that he or she is not under the necessity of earning a livelihood, the evidence of social worth is enhanced in a very considerable degree. Our dress, therefore, in order to serve its purpose effectually, should not only he expensive, but it should also make plain to all observers that the wearer is not engaged in any kind of productive labor.
by Thorstein Veblen


The pictures above showcase my "ThrowBack Joint" I copped for a cool $20 in Seoul a few weeks back. Now some of you might be singing "aw nigga that aint nuttin but a knock off" let it be known I've been to my share of swap meets, I have also come up on the good stuff by way of Boosters, and many of the other Ghetto-Centric methods for aquiring dress. Why I never bought one of these joints until my trip was a serious no brainer, nigga thats "375 JR cheese burgers". Humor aside, I was suprised by the quality, and the "attemp" at "authenticity" these cats really went all out. They had the pre-priced tags (mine was for $300), and all the Mitchell and Ness MLB insignia stuff to make it look "extra real". And you know when she said "20 Dolla" I was like I'm in just on GP nigga! Back at the hotel I conducted the "good enough to front on the streets" inspection and this joint passed hands down. So thats when I started getting a little analytical, maybe this is "REAL" and the "FANTASY" (fake ass MTV nigga wit a million cars, yachts and no fuckin job) got us all on some NMC (Nigga Mind Control x 3).

Question #1
Why are NIGGAS paying $400 for some shit I copped for $20?

After you peep the background portion you'll see why my skeptcism was fueled even further. First of all "most" (I'm trying to give YT the benefit of the doubt) of the clothing we wear is manufactured outside of the USA, and especially in the region I just "had happened" to be in.
Second when a white boy says "I cant make enough of them" I start having real bad sweatshop images going through my head. And Third "the company has an extensive research center, which includes over one million magazines". Nigga a garage full of old ass Sports Illustrated magazines dont make for an "Extensive Reasearch Center" unless you using YT double speak.
I know a gang of fools with "Extensive Research Centers" if you wanna get technical.

Looks like we got a hustle going on folks...

Question #2
Why do NIGGAS continue to overlook the obvious (I mean Jedi mind trick, MOVE ALONG, obvious)?

I love the sports tie-in too. There aint no slippin in YT's game believe that... Pimp them kids, with they little ass hoop dreams. "Fuck school Beeotch thats for white kids, I gotta get my hoop on so I can get my shoe deal fool". Bring out the mass media monster for the assist! We'll get the rappers to wear this shit, put a stoopid ass price on it and "I'M RICH BEEEOTCH"! Cunning to say the least and we running right down the street chasing the hook. This aint nothing different than the Ol' Stater jacket craze of the 80's.
You remember how cats was getting shook fo they Raiders joint at the spot. Like a nigga really own some Raider's stock and shit. So what we have is niggas being sold some make believe fantasy island bullshit (for a crazy price) to appease some type of social function within his system (baller status, I got money to fuck off, I'm cool). If you dont like my analogy read the economics 101 portion and follow the links, these cats (white) break it down waaaaaayyyyy better than me, and they telling you how you getting pimped.

Question #3
How come NIGGAS always talkin bout running game while they getting PLAYED?

Now in the end you know cats wanna look fly etc. etc. my point is why do we have to get the okie doke in the process? Sure people like to emulate their "idols" but when does this Idoltary nature become detrimental to a culture. Thats easy, when the culture becomes blind to the reality of the process emplaced to extort, defile, and destroy, any type of capital which arises from said culture whither it be, financial, cultural, or otherwise.
Game Recognize Game...

"Fuck a throw back I look clean in my white tee"

Dem Franchise Boyz