30 Things About Portland: The Good, The Bad, The Interesting

Portland, Oregon. It’s sometimes a misunderstood place. Yes, it’s true it rains. But not as much as people might imagine. Here are a few things that make Portland, simply, Portland.

1. Portland is a great walking city. City blocks are 200 feet, half the length of those of many other cities.

2. Portland has great beer. There are more breweries in Portland than any other city in the world.

3. Portland’s air is cleaner than a lot of other major cities.

4. Portland has plenty of beautiful, natural scenery. It’s very green with lots of trees.

5. (Bad) Coastal region is said to be due with earthquake (tsunami) like activity. Are we prepared?

6. Portland was almost named Boston. A coin toss decided the name.

7. Portland is the largest city in Oregon.

8. (Bad) Perception that it rains here all the time. Really, it rains more in places like Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis, and Seattle.

9. The International Rose Test Garden, located in Portland, is the oldest rose test garden in the US.

10. Portland has a World Famous Symphony. The Oregon Symphony was the first orchestra in the Western United States.

11. Portland has the nation’s largest outdoor and crafts market, The Portland Saturday Market.

12.The Benson Bubblers are drinking fountains located at several locations downtown. They came about long ago because there was nothing else to drink in Portland but beer during the workday at one time. Beer sales at saloons dropped considerably when they were installed. Seriously.

13. Portland has one of the most authentic Japanese Gardens outside of Japan.

14. With 5000 acres, Forest Park is the nation’s largest urban wilderness. In all, Portland has 37,000 acres of parkland with 150 miles of trails.

15. Dr. Marten’s retail store, the only one in the country, is located in Portland.

16. Recently PDX was rated one of the best airports in the country.

17. You can’t pump your own gas in Portland, in Oregon in fact. It’s illegal.

18. Here are some interesting names that reference Portland: Bridgetown, Stumptown, City of Roses, PDX, P-Town, and Puddletown.

19. Portlandia is the second largest copper statue in the US. It’s located on the Portland building downtown. The largest copper statue is the Statue of Liberty.

20. Portland celebrates the Rose Festival in June. 2 huge parades, dragonboat races, fireworks, and the crowning of the Rose Festival queen all takes place during this period. Several large ships from the Coast Guard and the Navy come to shore for tours.

21. The Columbia River Gorge, minutes from Portland, is considered the best place in the world for windsurfing.

22. Nike’s world headquarters is located in Beaverton, minutes from Portland.

23. There is no sales tax in Portland. A matter fact, there is no sales tax in Oregon.

24. Portland is the first city in the US to remove a freeway, Harbor Drive, which was later replaced by Waterfront Park.

25. At 546 feet, the Wells Fargo Center is the tallest building in Portland. Height restrictions were placed after construction in 1972. The public did not want the view of Mt. Hood blocked by tall buildings.

26. The Flying Boat known as the Spruce Goose is located at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville near Portland.

27. The submarine that featured in the movie Hunt for Red October is housed at OMSI in Portland.

28. In 1888, for Skidmore Fountains grand opening, Oregon brewer Henry Weinhard offered to pump beer from his brewery to the fountain via fire hoses. This never happened because city officials feared that residents would help themselves and poke holes into the city’s only set of fire hoses.

29. The tunnels known as The Shanghai Tunnels are located under Old Town Chinatown in Northwest Portland. These tunnels connected to basements of bars and hotels. Way back then, bar and hotel customers were drugged and incapacitated from the very same bars and hotels that served them. The tunnels were a means to smuggle unsuspecting individuals for sale as slaves to ships docked at the waterfront.

30. Oregon State Hospital, an insane asylum, was built in SE Portland in 1862. The street it was built on was named Asylum Street. People protested the name. So the street was later renamed after one of the hospital’s administrators. Asylum Street was later renamed Hawthorne Street, a very popular and thriving district today


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The Nike Dunks Low Pro SB – Gold Rail

The Nike Dunks Low Pro SB – Gold Rail is one of the Low Nike Dunk products, other similar products being the likes of the Nike Dunk Low SB ‘What the Dunk’ Second Revolution, the Nike Dunk SB EMB 181 Brazil, the Nike Dunk SB Low Custom Pigeon, among many others. Of all these Nike Dunks Low products (and there are quite a good number of them), it is the Nike Dunks Low that I have gotten most enchanted with, since I got the first opportunity to use it quite some time ago.

One of the most remarkable things about the Nike Dunks Low is Nike’s employment of color on it. True, only two colors, dark blue and cream come out prominently on it, but the way Nike contrasts them (with the blue coming out on most of the shoe’s upper body, and with the cream only coming out on the shoe’s Nike Tick, tongue and ‘front patch’) nonetheless makes for a rather interesting contrast. And although the colors on the Nike Dunks SB – Gold Rail might come across as rather loud when worn with some types of outfits (which can be an alluring feature for some of us anyway), they can similarly come across as quite modest when worn with something like a blue jeans trouser, where they tend to merge remarkably well. The lower region of the sole of The Nike Dunks Low Pro SB – Gold Rail is painted cream, with the upper region of it, the region where it connects with the shoe’s upper body being painted black, which contrasts remarkably well with the (mainly blue) shoe’s upper bodywork.

As would be expected of a low dunk, the Nike Dunks Pro SB – Gold Rail is more or less a flat shoe, though there is a rather gentle height gradient on the middle part of it (immediately after the region where the toes go in), but even this does not really rise very high: making The Nike Pro SB – Gold Rail the ideal shoe for you if you really abhor those very tall shoes.

The sole on the Nike Pro SB – Gold Rail is quite thick though, but also quite flexible, which means that one can reasonably expect some durability out of it, as thick but flexible soles are regarded as the most resilient of all varieties.


Original Nike Shoes And Their Features

When you decide to engage in sports, you should be ready to invest some bucks on your sports shoes. This is indeed paramount to prevent any injuries to your feet while you play any particular sport. When it comes to sports shoes, there are many different brands. To make things difficult, more and more brands are introduced in the market on a regular basis

It is certainly very difficult to get right shoes for your sports. You can misjudge and eventually end up with wrong shoes that inflict pain in your feet. So- what brand of sports shoes should you trust? Well, there is one brand of sports shoes that has won the hearts of millions of people around the word. That brand is none other than Nike!

Nike rubber shoes – a bit of history

Nike, Inc. is an American company that supplies the world with one of the best sports shoes and other accessories. The logo of Nike is a simple “check” but it makes any Nike product distinguishable. In Greek and Roman mythology, Nike was the goddess of victory. The sports product company has adopted its name from the name of this Greek goddess. Nike was the brainchild of a coach from the University of Oregon. His name was Bill Bowerman. He was supported by Phil Knight, one of his athletes. Together they started Nike. Today, Nike continues to be the best choice for athletic rubber shoes.

You will find that most of the top-ranking sportsmen of today’s times, be it in basketball, tennis, football or other sports, prefer Nike footwear. You have Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova as well Kobe Bryant who use Nike footwear and endorse this brand. There is a long list of celebrity sportsmen that use and endorse Nike products.

Features of Nike shoes

There are many features that make Nike footwear distinguishable from other brands of shoes. Some of these features are:

– A pair of Nike gives you perfect flexibility – Yes, you receive unmatchable flexibility from shoes from Nike.

– Nike shoes provide for superior support – Nike shoes come with herring bone and solid rubber which adds to the comfort and support of the wearer.

– Nike footwear are lightweight and durable – Despite giving you superior comfort, flexibility, Nike footwear are very light in weight. If you buy one pair of Nike shoes for a particular sport, you are sure to reap its benefits for a long time.

– Nike shoes help in preventing feet injuries – This is one of the most important reasons of the popularity of Nike footwear. These shoes have features that protect your feet while you are participating in any sport. The shoes reduce the chances of disastrous feet injuries.

There are a lot of Nike shoe models. Each sport has specific designs and styles of shoes. This is because different sports have different requirements from the shoes. When you buy Nike footwear, make sure you are buying correct model that will suit you in a particular sport. You can even find Nike shoes for walking and running activity.


Nike Dunk Low FC St Paul

The Nike Dunk Low FC St. Paul is one of the members of the Low Nike Dunk products, alongside the likes of Nike Dunk Freddy Krueger Low SB, the Nike Dunk Low 6.0 Panda, the Nike Dunk Low 1 Piece Rare – to name but a few. I must confess that the Nike dunks is the first low dunk from Nike that I have gotten enchanted with, especially after getting to use it.

As the name suggests, the Low FC St. Paul is quite a low shoe, at least by Nike dunks standards. It does have an elevation though, first through the raised sole, and secondly through its ‘tongue’ which starts off as a pretty much normal sized shoe ‘tongue’ but then grows tall as it traverses through the shoe’s middle region to be quite high at the point where it meets the shaft of the wearer’s foot. The region between the shoe’s center to its back is quite low and arched. But while there is indeed still some curvature here, the Nike dunks is a relatively flat shoe by Nike dunks standards.

My particular pair of Nike St Paul is basically white in color, with bits of other colors coming up at various points on the shoe’s body. These other colors, besides the basic white in the Nike dunks include the bright grey patch just next to the crystal white patch where the Nike tick starts, a certain bright hue of brown that is color to the shoe’s sole, as well as a certain tint or red/pink, which is co-used with the white on the Nike Dunk Low FC St Paul’s shoe thread.

Talking of shoe threads, the Nike Low FC St comes with quite a long one for a shoe of its height, at 14 shoe-thread holes (in 7 pairs). Of course, if you are comfortable this way, you can opt not to tie the uppermost shoe threads on the Nike Dunk Low FC St – and should still be quite okay.

The Nike tick on the Nike Low FC St is cream in color, and keeping with its modern tradition, Nike opts to elongate the tick in question all the way to the back of the shoe, and all the way round to terminate at the other end of the shoe. Miniature Nike Ticks can be seen on the Nike sole, and on a small ‘label’ flap at the upper backmost part of the shoe.


How Nike Uses Communities to Create Modern Brands

Modern Nike is a benchmark on how modern brands are created. They are created through engagement and two-way conversation. Social media has changed how modern brands are created. This is an epic and historical change. Today, a brand is created through the development of an entire community. To be a successful brand, customers have to be engaged.

Consumers no longer are sold products. They buy things they like and this is done through the communities they join. The benchmark for this is Nike. At one time, Nike was a benchmark for “old media”. Their campaigns in the ’80s with Michael Jordan are just simply historic. They are historic for that era. Nike is a benchmark in creating a brand image. Times have changed and Nike has learned to change with them. This is in itself is a reason why marketers should study Nike.

Nike has learned that modern brand creation is done through the creation of communities that allow Nike and the customer to engage in real time conversation. For this reason, Nike has very limited traditional media campaigns.

Nike has created a running community that brands its products. Nike communicates interactively with its customers with a performance-tracking wrist band. The wrist brand stores the athlete’s performance statistics. This allows Nike to personalize their products with the customer. Nike can create a personalized online community specially for this one runner. By knowing the runner, and the runner’s progress and goals, Nike can set up a personalized training regime for the runner. They can recommend particular products and health supplements just for that particular runner. They can create a personalized running or exercise program just for that runner. They can communicate running races that are planned for that area. They have knowledge of potential training partners, in the runner’s neighborhood, that the runner could connect with to assist in training. The community works like a runner’s LinkedIn. What this does is change Nike from being just a shoe in the store, to a trusted friend. You reject products, but you never reject a friend, especially a trusted friend. This is the means that modern brands are created.

The building of communities has created more targeted branding and more efficient uses of Nike’s financial resources. In the days of old media, when Nike targeted a particular event, like the Super Bowl, Nike could reach 200 million on a special day. Now, with its targeted customer communities, Nike can hit that figure EACH DAY.

Nike’s old media campaigns created brand image, which was historic in its day. The communities that Nike is able to develop create intimate conversations with specific individuals. Each of these individuals now has a personalized laboratory, as it were. This laboratory allows Nike to develop and offer specialized products to specific individuals. It can do this by studying the individual’s behaviors and patterns.

Nike understands that the market that is critical to them, the 18-34, gets most of its media and product information on social media networks. This is where Nike does the preponderance of its advertising. Places such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. It is through these networks that Nike can create personalized relationships with individual customers.

The results can be seen in Nike’s analytics. The running division, which puts a great emphasis on developing running communities, is now up 30%. The running division is now a $2.8 billion brand for Nike.
Yes, Nike is a huge company, but what they have done is applicable to a beginning start up. It is for this reason that everyone should study how modern Nike creates it brand


Nike Dunks Mid Premium SB – Asbury Casino Edition

The Nike Dunks mid premium SB – Asbury Casino is in the category of what are referred to as ‘mid’ Nike dunks, in reference to their height. Other ‘mid’ Nike dunk products include the Nike Dunk Mid Premium SB Donatello, the Nike Dunks Mid Premium SB Guns N Roses November Rain and the Nike Dunk Pro SB Mid Tie Dye, to name but a few of the members of this rather huge family. In the short period of time that I have gotten to use my nike dunk, I confess that I have come to be thoroughly enchanted with it.

The pair of nike dunk is Mineral yellow in color, but I could as well have opted for the Island teal version of it, because Nike Dunk Mid Premium SB Casino edition comes either in Mineral yellow or Island teal colors. It would be reasonable to assume that the Mineral yellow version is ideal for those seeking to convey an emotion of exuberance in their choice of dunks, with the Island teal being for the more reserved types.

Although the pair of Nike Dunks in question is primarily Mineral yellow, there are at least three other colors that can be identified on it, including the black that makes the shoe’s sole, and which emerges (very slightly) at the front of the shoe and at is back. The upper part of the shoe’s sole, however, is painted white, making for quite a remarkable contrast with the mineral yellow otherwise employed. There is a bit of black, too, on the patch where the Nike tick is based, and yet another white patch at the front of the shoe, between the sole and tongue. The tongue itself is a certain tone of grey. It would seem that Nike’s choices of colors for this shoe are not random, but deliberate choices meant to enhance certain effects.

The sole on the Nike Dunk Mid Premium edition is – perhaps in keeping with the name, moderately thick. For a tying mechanism, Nike opts for a shoe lace and flap mechanism in the Nike Dunks Mid Premium SB. Unlike in most other Nike dunks of all sizes of modern times, the shoe lace on the Nike Dunks Mid Premium SB is quite short, spanning over six shoe-thread holes only (only three pairs of them, that is); with the rest of the holding together being accomplished through the use of the flap mechanism, which is found on top of the tip of the tongue of the shoe; at the shoe’s highest point.

The signature Nike tick on the Nike Dunk Casino edition is, as in most modern Nike dunks, stretched – all the way from somewhere towards the center of the shoe where it starts on the black patch described earlier, all the way to the back of the shoe; and then all the way to the other side of the shoe where it terminates with the sharp edge


21 Reasons to Watch the 2010-2011 NBA Season

The most anticipated NBA season in recent memory starts with a bang on Tuesday night as LeBron James and the new look Heat battle the rugged Celtics. Here are 21 reasons to watch what promises to be an unforgettable season. Because 20 reasons just weren’t enough.

21. The Start-Ups. I’m a sucker for young, quality teams. I’m not including the Oklahoma City Thunder here, either, because they’re well passed this stage. I’m referring to teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers, and yes, even the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ok, so the Wolves don’t fit the “quality” prerequisite, but I’m still curious to see how Michael Beasley responds in a new setting. I guess David Kahn and I are the only people who still believe in Beasley’s talent. Being in agreement with David Kahn only means one thing; you’re an idiot. In my defense, a team with Minnesota’s athleticism should be good for a handful of 141-138 shootouts with the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns. That’s fun to watch, right?

20. Yao Ming. Is he healthy? Is he still any good? Will he make it past Christmas? All fair questions. The Rockets appear intent on limiting his playing time to less than 25 minutes per game throughout the entire season. If their plan works, a healthy Ming and arguably the West’s deepest bench could be a force come April. On a similar note, will we ever see a full season of Greg Oden? In fairness to Portland, it’s not like anyone drafted after Oden has been a standout player. Oh, that’s right, the Trail Blazers passed on Kevin Durant. Don’t worry, Portland. That mistake will only haunt you for the next 10-12 years. Then, it will all be over. Seriously though, sometimes I forget Oden is even in the NBA. He’s played in fewer games than Allen Iverson over the past two seasons. Oden is only 47, err 22, so there’s plenty of time for improvement, and most centers take longer to develop anyway. However, when the player the franchise passed on is tearing through the league, the world, and winning hearts, it’s time for Oden to show some promise.

19. Animosity is back. I’ve complained about this for years. The NBA is too touchy-feely. Everyone is friends. Bad-blood rivalries between players are gone, etc, etc… The summer of 2010 changed all that. Just about every team is out to destroy the Miami Heat. The Celtics hate anyone not in green. LeBron James has the names of everyone who bashed him. The whole league is on edge this year. Tensions are high. I can’t wait.

18. The competition for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference will be intense. Please don’t confuse intense with good basketball, though. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it a playoff race. It’ll be more like a playoff scrum. After the obvious playoff participants (in no particular order – Hawks, Celtics, Heat, Bucks, Bulls, Magic), there’s not a lot left. The Knicks are probably a shoe-in for one of those final spots because the East is that bad. Charlotte made the playoffs last season thanks to tough defense and grinding out wins. Another year of that under Larry Brown probably won’t keep Bobcat players invested for a full season, so they’re out. The Cavaliers…well, we don’t need to relive that, but they’re done too. Also left with no shot are the Raptors, Pistons, and Pacers. That leaves the 76ers, Wizards, and Nets as potential murder victims for CSI Miami’s first round playoff special.

17. My beloved 76ers. I’ll admit, this particular “reason to watch” only applies to me and the other eight remaining 76er fans. Obviously, as painful as it may be, I’m going to watch my team. Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner were supposed to bring excitement and optimism this season. After a dismal preseason, they’ve brought panic and hopelessness instead. Doug Collins is already faking migraines and bouts of vertigo so he can resign two weeks before Christmas without being called a quitter. In fact, I would actually support this. I was devastated when the 76ers chose Collins because he and Kevin Harlan made up my favorite NBA broadcast crew. Having Collins back for the playoffs and the Sixers heading to the lottery with a shot at the #1 pick would be the perfect season. Hold that thought. If we could also somehow trade Elton Brand and Andre Iquodala for any type of asset, THAT would be the perfect season. Ok, I’m done.

16. The Rookies. Every year we watch to see which rookies will bust (Hasheem Thabeet) and which will excel (Tyreke Evans, Steph Curry, Brandon Jennings). John Wall looks like a sure thing. I spent a decade watching Allen Iverson slash through defenders and jump passing lines at a breakneck pace. John Wall plays the same way, maybe even faster. In Utah, I think Gordon Hayward will have more of an impact than expected because Jerry Sloan is a master at extracting the most from rookies (see Wesley Matthews and Paul Millsap). I also expect to bang my head against my desk every time DeMarcus Cousins puts up a 20 and 10 while Evan Turner’s stat line reads; 4 pts, 8 TO.

15. The Chicago Bulls. Perhaps my favorite move of the offseason was Chicago’s addition of Kyle Korver because he perfectly complements the Bulls best player (Derrick Rose). Korver, who connected on over 50% of his 3’s last season, gives Rose an outlet when he slashes to the cup and will make opponents pay for clogging the lane. But Rose and Korver aren’t why I want to watch the Bulls. Joakhim Noah is. Noah is the nastiest player in the league. He won’t beat teams by scoring, but he’ll certainly limit the effectiveness of opposing forwards and centers. A lot of players have come out and said they’re not scared of the Miami Heat. Noah is the only one I truly believe. The guy is fearless. Calling out LeBron James from the bench last season when James was dancing at the foul line in a blowout win against the Bulls said a lot about Noah. He’s not intimidated by James or the Heat, or anyone else for that matter. Noah is the quintessential, “I hate that guy, but if he were on my team, I’d love him” type of player.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder. They’re the trendy pick to challenge the Los Angeles Lakers and even represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. When you have a 22 year-old phenom like Kevin Durant, nothing is impossible. The roster is loaded and the atmosphere breeds teamwork and winning. Amazingly, the Thunder employ only five players 26 years of age or older. While there’s a lot to like about this team, I don’t think they’ll reach the conference finals. Up to this point, the Thunder has lost in the 1st round of the playoffs. That’s the extent of this team’s postseason experience. They’ve never entered a season as a heralded team, either. This season, opponents will bring their best to face the NBA’s darlings. The Thunder won’t be overlooked anymore. Going through an 82 game season with a target on your back is significantly more difficult than flying under the radar as OKC has done the past two seasons. How they’ll respond to the added pressure from fans, media, and opponents will be a fascinating storyline throughout the season.

13. The final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Lakers, Jazz, Mavericks, Spurs, Blazers, Thunder, and Rockets should reach the postseason. If Carmelo Anthony is traded as expected, I don’t expect Denver to be the mix, so that leaves one spot open. Can the gutted Suns compete? (Steve Nash doesn’t think so; “I would probably pick us to be outside of the playoffs.” Yeesh.) Will Memphis or the Clippers make the leap? Does Chris Paul give the Hornets a shot? It may not be pretty, but the race for eighth should be entertaining down the stretch.

12. Where will Carmelo Anthony land? It’s a foregone conclusion that he won’t end the season with Denver. Where he’s traded will alter the NBA landscape. If he teams with Amare Stoudemire in New York, the Knicks become an Eastern Conference contender and a potential NBA title contender when Chris Paul flees New Orleans and joins the Knicks in a couple of years. If he joins the Bulls, Clippers, or Rockets, they too improve dramatically as contenders.

11. The return of Chris Paul. While he had an exceptional year in ’08-’09, I feel like Chris Paul has been irrelevant since his Hornets surrendered a 2-0 lead to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2008 Western Conference Semifinals. Paul finally appears healthy heading into the 2010 season as he looks to reclaim his throne as the NBA’s best point guard. Although Paul’s return will fill some seats, the New Orleans Hornets still won’t reach the postseason.

10. The continued rise of Deron Williams. Williams is one of my top five favorite players and currently holds the “NBA’s Best Point Guard” title. Say what you will about his deficiencies (doesn’t attack the rim enough, his hair, etc…), but Williams is fun to watch. When you see him dart up court on a fast break you just know he’s pulling up and burying a three. I nod and smile every time.

9. Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson on TNT’s Inside the NBA. I DVR meaningless regular season games just to fast forward to halftime and the postgame show. I love these guys. Enough said.

8. Does Dwight Howard finally become Superman? Lost in all the hoopla surrounding the Heat, Celtics, and Bulls, is the Orlando Magic. While they didn’t match the offseason splashes of their Eastern Conference foes, the Magic kept their team intact minus the defection of Matt Barnes to LA. As priceless as it is, continuity still won’t be enough to knock of the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics. Dwight Howard, on the other hand, is enough – but only if he finally reaches, or even approaches, his offensive potential. Only time will tell if Howard’s practice sessions with Hakeem Olajuwon were the result of the marketing department or Howard’s genuine desire to improve. If it’s the latter, the Heat’s kryptonite resides a few hundred miles north of Miami. Howard, with an effective offensive game, would absolutely terrorize the Heat. Even LeBron James, one of the world’s greatest physical specimens, wouldn’t be able to contain the strength of Howard. Does Howard become Superman, or keep masquerading as Superman? The answer to this question may determine the Eastern Conference.

7. Every player, coach, referee, GM, and owner is essentially in a Contract Year. If you know anything about sports, you know fans benefit the most from contract years. Players try harder, focus more, and raise their game to new heights. No, this doesn’t mean that everyone involved with the NBA is seeking a new contract after the 2010-2011 season. It’s not a financial contract year, just a theoretical one. With the threat of a lockout looming, this could be the last these players, coaches, etc… get to display their talents. We all lose if a lockout occurs, but the threat of one looming makes us all winners in the interim. And if nothing in this paragraph made any sense because I screwed it up, just watch because the NBA might not be around next season. Ok, thanks.

6. A familiar Three-peat. That’s right, Kobe Bryant embarks on his second three-peat. Wait a second; didn’t someone else lead a team to two separate three-peats? Oh that’s right. It was Michael Jordan. If Kobe is to pull it off, it’s likely his sixth championship will be the toughest. The Lakers are still the best team in the league, but the contenders have closed the gap over the offseason. Let’s talk about Kobe though. I’m not a big fan, but he’s amazing. We continually wait for him to lose that edge, that competitive streak that makes him the best assassin in the league and the most feared teammate. Yet, he continues to improve his game despite declining athleticism. Although I continually root against him, I’ve learned to appreciate Kobe in recent years. His talents are only exceeded by his desire for greatness. So, enjoy him while he’s still around.

5. The San Antonio Spurs have one more run. I should disclose that I’m not impartial here. Although I’m a 76ers fan, I have a team on the side. That team has been the Spurs since David Robinson entered the league. With the exception of ESPN’s John Hollinger, Tim Duncan and the Spurs have been ignored as contenders. San Antonio was crippled by the health of Tony Parker last season. Parker passed on International play this past summer and is fully rested for one final run. Also, despite an impressive rookie campaign, DeJuan Blair spent the offseason improving his offense. Furthermore, Tiago Splitter will add some much needed front court depth, and George Hill continues to improve with time. If the Spurs find a shooter on their roster (hello, James Anderson) and get more than a walking corpse from Richard Jefferson, it’s not unreasonable to see them grab the 2 or 3 seed in the West. With their improved front court, and breakout years from their young stars, San Antonio could ride off into the sunset one final time.

4. Revenge is on the minds of the Boston Celtics. Don’t you get the feeling that Kevin Garnett and Co. have been seething since they gave away game seven of the 2009 NBA Finals? I’m expecting a motivated and focused team similar to the 2007 Celtics that went wire to wire. If you’re wondering why the 2010 Celtics were constructed as is, allow me to explain. Remember in the second movie of The Lord of The Rings trilogy, when Aragorn describes Saruman’s army as, “an army bred for a single purpose: to destroy the world of men”? Well this Boston Celtic army was bred for two purposes: destroy the Miami Heat in the paint, and batter the crap out of Pau Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers. I know they’re unpopular outside of Boston, but I love the gritty way the Celtics play. I can’t wait to see if they can maintain this passion for eight months.

3. Kevin Durant might steal the hypothetical “torch” from LeBron James. He’s the most prolific scorer the league has seen in decades. He can effortlessly score 30. He has all the tools of a superstar and more importantly, the humility and motivation of a D-leaguer. Right now, there is no ceiling. Everything LeBron James did wrong in the offseason, Durant did right. He quietly extended his contract, endlessly praised his teammates (even demanding two unheralded teammates appear on the Sports Illustrated cover with him), and was the unquestioned leader of the U.S. national team that was supposed to be humiliated at the FIBA World Championships. The future of the league is bright, especially with Durant in the driver’s seat.

2. The Miami Heat. Three superstars in the prime of their careers joined forces to win multiple titles. Money was left on the table (albeit small amounts) and egos were checked at the door. How long until those egos impact the team will ultimately determine the success of the Miami Heat. Have two of the NBA’s top three players ever played on the same team after fulfilling identical roles on their previous teams? Not that I can think of. This is why the 2010-2011 NBA season revolves around the Miami Heat.

1. Love him or hate him, LeBron James is the number one reason to watch the NBA this year. To some, everything he does will be a success. To others, everything will be a failure, even if he wins a title. His new Nike commercial (a great commercial by the way) paints him as an unapologetic, ignorant, narcissistic, rebellious, and immature hero. Regardless, anyway you cut it; LeBron is still the most talented player in the NBA. Since the end of last season, he’s become the most controversial and polarizing, too. And that’s why, from October through June, we all will watch.


Nike: A Buy or Sell?

Recently reporting their quarterly earnings, many investors look for a fair sized rally for this shoe making king. However, with the upcoming recession and implications that it might have on Nike (NKE) shares, I would be hesitant to purchase any more shares at such a high price during such a volatile period.

It’s true that Nike did something positive in their report a few days ago which propelled the stock by four percent the next day. However, this was also the first time in three quarters that Nike reported an EPS lower than expectations. While the surprise was low, Nike typically reports earnings well above analyst estimates, illustrating the potential decline of Nikes’ profits during the next possible few years. Already experiencing some negative margins from quarter to quarter, with yearly margins only mediocre at best, Nike looks to be an upsetting stock for investors in the months to come. Reaching a near record high this year, I can vouch that Nike is an overbought equity waiting to be shorted.

The reasoning for such an assertion can be based on the premise of what type of company Nike is. Selling sport shoes and other clothing products at an above market price may not be complacent with consumers with the upcoming economic downturn. As inflation worries have propelled the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates, a negative effect will occur for companies such as a decrease in purchases. Consequently, companies will have to compensate for the lack of sales by firing employees. This results in lower domestic income for Americans, creating even more negative effects for the economy. Because consumers will not spend at their previous rate, profits will fall for companies that sell products at high prices (like Nike) and will transcend the bad news to shareholders of their stock. As Nike perfectly fits this description, expect some announcements in the future, especially if there is a hard landing, of a lowering of guidance.

Historically speaking, when the recession of 2001 through 2003 took place, shares of Nike dropped dramatically to near 33% which is a big downfall for a large capitalization corporation. When the economy got back to a more prosperous state, shares of Nike rose because of increases in margins and earnings, placing Nike almost 100% ahead relative to the end of 2003. Will Nike follow a similar pattern when the next recession occurs? The topic is debatable, but Nike does seem to follow a relatively cyclical pattern determined by the economy and its fundamentals.

It is true that Nike has an excellent PE ratio of nearly 17 and a good dividend payout of 1.24 cents per share, but with the negativity of the economy conspicuously hurting the fundamentals of Nike, and a technical pattern similar to that of a cyclical stock, I would be very wary of buying any shares of Nike at the current time. If you were lucky and have shares of Nike that you purchased earlier, I would advise selling these shares, collecting your capital gains, and buying shares of Nike back when the economy goes through this recessio


Story On Legwear

People generally look at the face first. The second is the shoes and exactly next to the shoes what one observes are the socks, the safeguards of the feet, which prevent the feet from rubbing against the shoes, give the feet a tender feeling and add some style element in ones attire. As fashion has become more individualistic, every product that gives the look and reflects personality has drawn the attention of designers and fashion experts. From hat to legwear, every item worn by a person adds to the overall persona and appeal. In this varied scenario of dressing, every part of the attire has gained a makeover… legwear being the latest. Now various designing looks are given to the pair of clothing so that they have their own importance inside the clothing.

Knitted hose have been a part of clothing for the past 1,000 years. At the outset it was worn by men and not women. The first stocking knitted on a circular machine was made in 1589. The market has improved since then. The first nylon stocking was made in 1938 and the first tights were made in 1966. Over the years stockings have become less popular and, most recently, knee-highs and ankle-highs have become more popular because women now wear more of trousers rather than skirts.

Nowadays, the use of legwear increases with each season. With the introduction of design aspects in the legwear category and the aim of making one such product changing, the legwear production industry is experiencing a huge demand in the summer time too. Hot Sox, DKNY, Givenchy- licensed by JET, American Essentials- the licensee for Calvin Klein and Michael Kors, Leg Resource Inc., Infinity Classics International etc., are a few products that satisfy the demand of designer legwear. Many departmental stores have special hosiery departments that keep the best brands. Designers like Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs and Dolce Gabbana make legwear collections more appealing.

With many aspects of a jigsaw, the new collection offered on the shelves range from elegant classic and natural appeals to fascinating flamboyant styles. The new legwear styles take into consideration the several demands of the present trend and show off perfect style and beauty. The variety is so vast that legwear has appeared as a hip extension for designers to show their abilities. Since legwear is worn by everyone regardless of age, gender or profession, ¬ there are various designs that are made for each and every segment. The legwear market is gaining a specific space in the market, more so due to skirts and now dresses which have gained popularity as the hot fashion products. Legwear designers foresee a bright future for tights, sheers and socks.

Many producers across the globe are trying to renew particular styles in the legwear category in each and every season and market them for the season. Holiday- specific legwear that are aimed at holiday themes, patterns and designs specific only to the holiday season are now a thing of the past. Today, many legwear manufacturers target socks and sheers as they make a good gift due to its affordability and usefulness. The promotional market is another area where it is considered that legwear can solve the purpose.

Sheer with decorative backseams dotted with red flowers in both black or white or sheer red shapes and floral vine pattern are enormous. Sheer shapes are also being made with rhinestones: rhinestones decorate the backseams and are sprinkled on sheer black colour. Kayser-Roth Corporation in its HUE line, Fine Line Hosiery and The Randalman, NC Company are some of the companies that offer a design element to legwear. HUE came out with rhinestone backseams, tuxedo striped sheers in black or nude, lurex rib sheers, shimmer sheers in black, gold or silver; lace trim tulle thigh highs and stockings with built-in garters.

Traffic- stopping graphic prints, romantic openwork, textured legwear, solid opaque, school girl knee- highs, ladylike sheers and ribbed knits are a few of the latest vogue. Forecasted to hit the fashion field are knee-high socks that are anticipated to become one of the new fashion trends. Knee socks in bias plaids, classic argyles in both traditional and gloomy colours, contrast herringbone, heavy tweed styles, stripes and femme angora openwork are arrived in the market. Feature covers colour flecks, fur pom poms and embroidered stitching. In socks, surface attractiveness is vital with visible textures giving preference over patterns. Moretz has set up sock styles with a various tweed textures. Use of luxury blends with wools, angora and cashmere, and romantic affects continue to be the largest in ladies apparel, which provides another increment to the sale of tights and trousers.

In pink, white and black, there are various categories available with contrasting trim and seed stitching on the top of the feet with a flower around ankles. Tattoo sheer pantyhose, checkered thigh highs, cotton knee highs with bows, lycra mesh stockings, lace leggings, skulls and crossbones midcalves, fuzzy multi stripe, striped tigers, argyle clock, micro velour diamonds, shark bite 3D socks, rugby 3-striped, surprise rib and branches tights are a few sets that perform the genesis of designing element spotted on the ‘essentials’, as accepted by today’s generation. The persistence of beadwork, embroidery and crochet in apparel and accessories compliment the net/ crochet designs and opaque textures used in a sizable way in legwear. Opaques (dark and ribbed) and cable knit tights, men’swear patterns and footless tights are anticipated to have a huge market share.

For many producers, collection of fashion tights covers bold plaid opaques, textured tights in leopard, houndstooth and herringbone, antique openwork, crochet and nets and colourful, crazy tights motivated by Pucci’s graphic designs. Fine Line Hosiery offers many plated tights in diamond, floral heather patterns and ribs. The beauty of legwear is further enhanced with the use of colours in the perfect mix. Browns command the colour palette along with affluent burgundies, warm greens, gold and robust tones. Attractive palettes of blue cover turquoise and teal. Inky blues offer a sophisticated casual look with a laid-back attitude that matches the best with denim wear and offer a break from the khaki family. Colours of inky blues include Rio, Wonder Blue and Midnight. Metallics have become the new mortals.

The new transparent lines of curved hosiery from Hanes are available in many flesh tones that are transparent enough to facilitate consumers to harmonize their skin tones with superior support. Captivating its influence from movement in the beauty industry, which is blowing up with products meant to offer a tanned, shining effect to the legs, Hanes also deals with Sheer Radiance, a line of edge that offers a slightly tanned and shining look to the leg. Leg Resource Inc., which makes legwear for Anne Klein and Via Spiga, among others, is all about facets with zigzags, curlicue motifs and sewn-on lace. Items from Infinity Classics International, a Brooklyn-based producer and marketer of hosiery for Italian line Levante and British import Jonathan Aston cover ultrasheers and sheers; opaques in chevron, spiral or diamond patterns and fishnets in mini and maxi weaves. Silhouettes include a regular growth or an unusual low-rise ‘hipster’ cut.

The legwear market covers only a small fraction of the total apparel business, the US imported legwear worth $ 1.24 billion in 2004. Canada imported $ 120 billion while EU imported Euro 2.66 billion, a 21 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent increment, correspondingly over the previous year. Though, India could raise its share only in the EU market from 1.39 per cent to 1.47 per cent.

US market of legwear

US import of legwear boosted by 20 per cent in 2004

Legwear, including hose, pantyhose, tights, socks, stockings and other hosiery products and a necessary apparel items are quite popular world over. The US imported such items worth $1.1 billion in 2003. The imports rose by about 20 per cent to reach $ 1.3 billion in 2004. Legwear imports add just 2 per cent to total import valued at $ 65 billion of apparel into the US.

Stockings and Tights – UK market

Today’s hosiery market is divided between sales of tights (84%), stockings (3%), hold-ups (4%) and knee-highs (9%).

In 2004 the fine hosiery market was about £250 million; with more than half a million pairs of tights, stockings and hold ups being purchased every day. Legwear is the most regularly purchased item of clothing with women purchasing on average of ten pairs a year. The average price of a pair of tights in 2004 was £1.19; though. In UK Pretty Polly, Elbeo Levante etc are the leader in tights and stockings.

India’s legwear market in the EU’s perception

For legwear in the EU market, China with a contribution of 1.5 per cent was better than India and all others in the Indian subcontinent. Though, legwear imports from China in the year 2003 decreased in value terms by over 4 per cent despite a raise of about 13 per cent in volume terms. Here again, Pakistan with a contribution of over 1 per cent was at number two position and imports of legwear from Pakistan raised by over 46 per cent in the year 2003 as against 2002. Among China and other competitors in the sub-continent, India gained number three position with making 0.55 per cent contribution to the legwear market in the EU. In 2003, import of legwear from India rose by about 13 per cent.

EU a large market for legwear

The market for legwear in the EU is quite larger than the US. The EU imported legwear worth Euro 2.66 billion in 2003, increased by 3.6 per cent from Euro 2.57 billion in 2002. Legwear imports add to the total apparel imports valued at about Euro 83 billion of the EU to the size of 3.2 per cent.

Over the last two years, the business from India has increased significantly. Many producers have got a growth of almost 40-50 percent in their business. Experts believe that the export market of India will keep up provided the manufacturer can produce the products with latest trends with other yarns that are no longer restricted to any particular weather, besides cotton legwear. Though in cotton legwear still manufacturers have to move fast to sustain in a long run.

India has colourful presentation for buyers in Legwear – Cotton still well demanded

Europe is a larger market as compared to the US in legwear with advancement in blends and designs. Though, India has only a 0.5 per cent of share of legwear worldwide with its strong existence in the cotton socks segment.

The US imported legwear amounted to $ 1.3 billion in 2004, while EU imported Euro 2.66 billion worth in 2003. In the subsequent periods, Indian exports raised by about 13 per cent to the US and 38 per cent to the EU in that order. The total quantities exported in legwear from India to the US and the EU accounted to 21.32 per cent and 94.44 per cent respectively, which were cotton legwear. With increased incursion of Asian countries, mostly China, the US Socks Industry is susceptible to rising imports. US manufacturing plus outward processing of socks decreased 13.2 per cent from 2001 to 2003.

Though China escorts offensively with new machines pursued by innovations in yarn, compositions and blends, India has begun building a strong existence with huge exporters investing in socks production and the traditional exporters aiming at expansion. Even foreign investors are peeping at India as a feasible manufacturing hub with application of a variety of yarn blends though cotton remains the key potential.

Colour, prints and new designs were the most accepted legwear fashion for 2005. As many fashion accessories are used in various designs and styles, likewise legwear also has a preference with various designs and looks with many interesting styles. Plains, plating, ribs, links, sports terry, anklet, various motifs are some of the regular designs made from India under the legwear category for both the domestic and the export market. From black to pastel to light colours, there is no substantial variation in the types that Indian producers are offering to both the markets. Besides the stylish and gentle like hosiery, novelty yarns like Lurex in soft colours, short shorties and knee high with delicate embroidery combined with appliqués have made the legwear more trendy and stylish.

At the end of the quota regime, Delta Galil Industries, a foremost producer of intimate clothing, supplying to brands like Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Nike and Ralph Lauren, started a $5 million socks factory in Silvassa in the Union Territory of Daman, Dadra & Nagarhaveli (INDIA). The factory will use over 200 looms plus specific finishing equipment to satisfy a target of one million pairs of socks per month. The company considers that the factory’s production will make $ 15 million with buyers in Europe and the US once it is fully operational. The company penetrated the Indian zone in an attempt to locate low-priced production locations to increase its competitiveness with an objective to develop business.

While this company from Israel observed business benefits in India and entered all the way post quota, Trend Setters, a famous name in garment export from India already has a devoted 100 per cent export production socks unit since 1999. TSI Industries Pvt Ltd, Faridabad, makes cotton, nylon and cotton blended legwear with elastane for kids, ladies and men’s category.

However, since the technology needed to produce ladies leggings is not available in India, the company ventured into cotton lycra leggings apart from its usual products. The total production capacity of the unit is 800 dozen pairs of socks per day. The company functions generally on the design patterns, colours and packaging offered by its buyers. With good output the company intends to put in Matec machines by 2006 to increase production and ranges.

In starting period of time, India made the export as well as the import market with only 100 per cent cotton items. It has also slowly started for other yarn compositions and blends. Some of the new compositions cover polyester, acrylic, wool, nylon, polypropelene and polyester viscose with a maximum of 5 per cent of spandex. Besides others, polypropelene is used only for the domestic market. Other yarn categories are intended both for domestic as well as export purposes. As other fashion accessories are offered in various designs and styles, likewise legwear has left the plain look behind and brought forth various appealing styles.

With a manufacturing capacity of 10,000 per/day, a New Delhi-based exporter of socks, Olympic Overseas Private Limited, produces socks for ladies and gents, as well as stockings. Apart form the common yarn types like cotton and nylon, the company even uses polyester viscose for both the domestic and the international market. The Rs 1.5 crores company supplies to France, UK, Germany and Belgium, working with importers and wholesalers like Benjamin SA, a key importer from France. Olympic Overseas offers only socks. They make stockings for the domestic market but not for international business. According to industry experts International demand for stockings is for fine quality yarn in which India is not that strong. Overseas has offers ‘arguile’ designs (shapes like diamond, rhombus, and triangle) and customized legwear in nearly 20 different styles. There are four set and size of legwear which they offer; the ankle length; the normal size that is 5-6″ above the ankle; then comes the long set that is immediately below the knees and finally stockings. In the international market, long socks are offered in the size of 1″ above the knee.

V. V. Hosiery is another Delhi-based legwear company of Rs 5 crore conglomerate, selling products under the brand name ASTRA. It mainly concentrates on ribs, links, sports terry, anklet and cutter motif styles. In addition to socks for gents, ladies and children, the company also exports stockings to various countries. It generally uses cotton and polypropelene. With a production capacity of 10,000 pairs per day, out of which 50 per cent is exported, the company has recently set up the export business of socks through importers in Dubai. Another hosiery producer who makes socks on demand is Office International Inc., the Tirupur based producer who focuses on children’s winter socks made of cotton with embroidery and prints.

A Mumbai-based trading house, Lee-On Impex exports sports socks for gents to Indian exporters like East Asia Trading and players from Kuwait and Australia. White is the most popular colour preference for the category which they are working for. Dark colours are used for striping. The conglomerate supplies on an average 2,000 pairs of sports socks per day. In gent’s legwear, navy blue, brown, black, light grey, dark grey, white, olive and green are the most popular colours which are in demand. With these shades, other frequent light colours are used for ladies legwear. School socks for children are patterned by shades of white, grey, navy blue and maroon. Pastel and baby colours like pink and rose are the preferred colour combinations in fancy socks.

New products for Winter 05 were remarkable. Many producers have created socks with air passages for Autumn Winter 05. Olympic Overseas has exported their usual products with specialized designs and looks for the season. Seamless stitching on toe, pre-shrinkage and softening finishes and antibacterial treatments were also well demanded in the season.

Fishnet stockings, fishnet thigh highs and micro-net are fashions in the stockings’ market. Generally, nets provide airy comfort to the legs. In addition, a unique type of remedy like beading and ruffling, the international trend for legwear, includes some shoe treatments into legwear like gel bottoms to offer socks more of an athletic appeal. Attractive floral designs are ample in ladies’ legwear. Many international companies who have arrived with these trends are Kayser-Roth Corp., Soxland International Inc, Levante, Hot Soz and Wolford, among others.

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Shoe Review – Nike Zoom Trainer, Essential Women’s Running Shoe

In Portland, Oregon, where I used to live, it’s almost a requirement to own Nike products. Nike headquarters are in the Portland metro area, and most everyone in Portland knows someone who works there. I’m no exception to this Rose City rule. Over the past few years I’ve acquired a fair number of Nike products, including my usual running shoes, the Nike Zoom Structure Triax series.

While shopping at a discount retailer I came across a pair of the Nike Zoom Trainer (for women) and promptly purchased them to speed train for my upcoming marathon. I was first attracted to these shoes because they are incredibly light and flexible, which is perfect for speed work and for transitioning into a more minimalist running shoe.

After taking them out for a week, I have a few observations: first, these are incredibly comfortable; second, it feels like I’m not wearing shoes; and third, I feel like I can run really fast.

The Nike Zoom Trainers are not cushioned like many of Nike’s other shoes; instead, these lighter shoes allow for a more natural gait. Since they are intentionally light and minimalist, these shoes offer no arch support. The soles are so flexible that you can fold the shoes in half. Perfect for speed work on the street or on a treadmill, these shoes have quickly become a favorite.

If you are not used to racing flats, or to shoes that do not offer a lot of support or padding, then you should work these gradually into your runs, since wearing these shoes will work your muscles and gait differently than other shoes do. Furthermore, the Zoom Trainers are not particularly well suited for trail running, since they do not provide much traction.