A teen from the Washington, D.C. area was killed Monday over a pair of Nike’s that he received as an early Christmas present, the boy’s mother told The Washington Post. He only enjoyed the shoes for four days before his body was found without the bright red Jordans.
17-year-old James Smith died after he was shot on a basketball court at the Frederick Douglass Community Center. The unidentified gunman fled the scene with James’ Air Jordan 11s in hand. James’ mother, Benita Smith, suspects that her son was killed for the highly coveted footwear that she gave him as an early Christmas gift.
“He was an all-American kid. He loved red shoes. He loved basketball. He loved his computer games…I can’t believe he was killed, all over a pair of shoes.”
James was found on a street a block away from the scene without the $220 sneakers. He was transported to a local hospital but died less than two hours after his arrival. Paul Trantham, an advisory neighborhood commissioner, claimed that the teenager was shot “as he was running.” James ran for a block after being shot before collapsing.
Approximately 1,200 people die annually over sneakers, according to GQ.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.