Obsessive Sneaker Disorder
by linnea - November 12, 2008 10:53am
DeJongh (Dee) Wells grew up in the Virgin Islands on the island of St. John, also known as Love City. The self-described “Sneakerhead” and Worcester resident has taken his love of sneakers and used it as a foundation to start conversations, build friendships, and get involved in print, broadcast, and internet media.
“I’ve been into sneakers for as long as I can remember,” he said “But the year that I recall best is 1983, because Clyde Frazier, who played for the NY Knickerbockers, wore the Puma Basket low sneakers. I wanted to be as smooth as he was on and off the court.”
Dee wanted the Puma Clydes but he ended up with a pair of Nike Cortez running sneakers in white and red. At this time break-dancing was growing and although Dee was not a break-dancer he said he could moon walk, robot and pop and lock very well. “The marriage of sneakers and Rap music went hand in hand,” he explained, “and I wanted to be a part of it even though I lived in the Virgin Islands.”
Dee was committed to his passion. He said at one point during his high school years he had 65 pairs of sneakers. He worked at his family’s restaurant and would send the money he had earned to his relatives in New York City, who would buy the sneakers and send them to him.
“I don’t have an exact count of how many pairs of sneakers I have,” he said. “But I’ve been fortunate to be able to afford some very nice sneakers.”
Dee said that he always encourages kids to do well in school and to follow their passion, because they can turn that passion into a vocation. He is the perfect example. “It’s one thing to be a consumer,” he explained. “But they can also become a footwear designer, a merchandiser, an accountant that works at one of these billion dollar companies, or start their own company and have others wearing their footwear and clothing.”
Dee doesn’t just collect sneakers, he also helps connect people in the Sneakerhead community. He helped start Sole Collector Magazine, a sneaker-lifestyle magazine with over 65,000 subscribers. He is still involved with the magazine in a limited capacity while he focuses on his other projects.
Dee started a blog titled OSD-Obsessive Sneaker Disorder in 2003 as a way to share his passion, and it has since grown to become a weekly Internet talk show about sneakers. OSD-Obsessive Sneaker Disorder first went on the air on August 27, 2007, and it is still the only live, call-in sneaker talk show out there.
OSD is recorded live every Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. EST. It becomes an audio podcast and is available on iTunes and a number of websites that feature audio podcasts.
Each week Dee is joined by his friend and co-host Sean “Paper Chasr” Williams and the OSD Crew, which is comprised of people from all across the United States, as well as regular guests. The show uses the Internet and a platform provided by TalkShoe.com.
Dee points out that the Sneakerhead community is very diverse. “There are women and men that live in all parts of the world that I’ve connected with due to sneakers,” he explained. “Some have become very good friends and business associates.”
On tonight’s show Dee will be discussing the new Major Taylor Nike Blazer sneakers. Round 2 of the Major Taylor Nike Blazers are now on sale across the globe, and if you don’t know Worcester’s own Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor was a world championship bicyclist, who also had to fight to overcome racial discrimination throughout his career. He became the second African-American to become a world champion after the boxer George Dixon.
He was nicknamed “The Worcester Whirlwind” and a statue was erected outside of the Worcester Public Library in his honor. Part of Worcester Center Boulevard was also changed to Major Taylor Boulevard in 2006, and on July 27th of this year the 7th Annual George Street Bike Challenge for Major Taylor was held on Main and George Street.
For more information on Major Taylor, our local hero, visit the Major Taylor Association webpage.
Be sure to check out Dee’s show for more information on sneakers and the Major Taylor Nike Blazers.
“It is my thought that clean living and a strict observance of the golden rule of true sportsmanship are foundation stones without which a championship structure cannot be built.” — Marshall Taylor in The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World
Photography Credit: Major Taylor Nike Blazer sneakers from A Proper Site