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  • David L. Morrow II

Yeezys, Jordans, All-Star Weekend, and the Law

Updated: May 26, 2019


It’s that time of the year again. Where men and women of all ages descend on an American city with their eyes wide with hope and aspirations pinned on something great and magical—something that gives them courage and optimism for a year of new beginnings. No, I’m not talking about a national political convention; I’m talking about the NBA’s All Star Weekend—where dreams are fulfilled, and there are plenty of fantastic slam dunks!


Recently, I flew with two friends to Los Angeles for the festivities. The Rising Stars Game, the Celebrity Game, and the Slam Dunk Competition were just a few events that occurred during the weekend. Additionally, for those that aren’t familiar with All Star, there is an element of the weekend that is even more fantastic—exclusive sneaker pop-up stores! You will easily identify these pop-up stores by the long lines of “sneakerheads” waiting to purchase the best footwear in the land.


Yes, this 30-something is still quite obsessed with the latest sneaker fashion (along with joggers, Adidas, Jordans, and occasionally my 401K). Each time I look at my shoe collection, a sense of joy overcomes my spirit. However, the crown and glory of my collection are three pairs of Kanye West’s ultra-exclusive shoe, the Yeezy (Beluga, Zebra, and Oreo).


So of course I had to rock each pair at every exclusive pop-up with the hopes of purchasing three pairs of sneakers so that I could resell two of them! And that’s when I began to wonder . . . what are the laws around reselling sneakers that I purchase during All Star Weekend?


Well, if you didn’t know, the sneaker resell business has become a billion-dollar industry. Yes, a BILLION-dollar industry! (#firstworldproblems) And, the industry has grown extensively in the last 10 years because it’s become so easy to resell shoes online. The average reseller will make a 20 percent profit. Overall, it’s not illegal to resell shoes you’ve legally purchased. However, there are a few legal caveats that young lawyers may want to know.


There are most certainly some warranty issues. If you’re not an “official reseller” without a legitimate arrangement with a manufacturer, you may run the risk of invalidating the warranties that are traditionally provided to the consumer. Basically, there would be no recourse for your buyer if you are the reseller of some defected shoes. Also, you may encounter trademark issues. It’s definitely illegal to use trademark logos on any sort of business entity when you are reselling sneakers if you are not an “official reseller.”


And finally, in a very American way, there are tax implications. If you’re buying and reselling sneakers, you’ll need to consider taxes at the point of purchase and at the point of resell. Ignoring these tax concerns will most certainly harm you personally if not managed and paid appropriately because “Uncle Sam” will always get his money!


Unfortunately, I didn’t get to purchase any shoes during All Star, but at least you’re now armed with this very important legal knowledge for reselling Jordans and Yeezys.


This article appeared in the July 2018 edition of the Young Lawyer Magazine

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/publications/tyl/topics/poplaw/yeezys-jordans-all-star-weekend-the-law.html

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