A Brief Interruption To Our Annual Year-End Programming Because Anthony Pappalardo Gave This Rather Frank Interview On 48 Blocks Today

pappalardo_pizza

It was a curious thing to observe the responses when, a couple weeks ago, you had in New Balance the umpteenth major-league footwear company announcing its late entry into the SB club. Time was, a couple pros would cobble together some investment group and foist upon the beleaguered consumership some new truck company or shoe company and be met with a round of harrumphs and annoyed sighs, whereas lately an entry one by one of the multinational shoe companies tends to get a subset of the culture atwitter over the prospect of being catered to with theoretically better technology and construction backing another vulcanized, low-top sneaker bearing a logo recognizable to principals, moms, the captain of the football team, etc.

Curiouser has been the justification offered up for backing new corporate competitors, usually centered on allegedly poor quality of the shoes manufactured under skater-owned outfits. When it comes to the extremely basic designs that have generally forced some equilibrium across the shoe landscape and the fixation on suede, canvas or leather as the material, quality seems like a red herring, but that may be just me. What seemed gnarly was a certain willingness (in some cases eagerness) to reject the “grassroots” players that, whatever their warts, are our own creations in favor of these larger and more powerful entities that until 10 years ago were not much thought of, except for some disdain when it came to various hamfisted efforts to push their products. At this point we part ways from veering into another circular referendum on Nike versus the Don’t Do It movement.

Now we have a telling from Anthony Pappalardo, to 48 Blocks, on how he was allegedly fucked over by Converse, which wooed him away from Lakai despite his apparent misgivings, made him a pro-model shoe and then abruptly shifted into some bare-knuckled contract fight that seems to have severely dented Pappalardo’s already fragile-sounding self-esteem. Some of the story as Pappalardo tells it is confusing — already barely making ends meet, the breakdown in talks with Converse saw him homeless within months and later selling scrap metal to survive, kind of like some 60-to-zero shift from “pro-skater-with-shoe-deal” status with no in-between option like seeking a different sponsor, moving in with friends or family, or getting a day job. Pappalardo describes a sort of catch-22 in which Converse is not supporting him, forcing him to hustle to survive, which makes him unable to skate, so Converse (and later Chocolate) doesn’t support him. It isn’t clear what happened to any royalties from his shoe model, which seem to have sold briskly, or why he stayed committed to this apparently abusive sponsorship arrangement, when several years earlier he quit Alien Workshop with no safety net whatsoever.

It seems like there’s several pieces missing from this whole story, and while resisting the game of diagnosing Anthony Pappalardo’s potential issues via an interview apparently pecked out on a mobile phone, you wonder about the other side of all this — during the time period in question Pappalardo was not exerting a Lil B-like flooding of the market with coverage and his career arc wouldn’t yet seem to afford him the coasting abilities of someone like a Fred Gall. But at a time when shoe companies like Es and Gravis have rolled out of the frame, not hearing out a dude like Pappalardo, even given these past few years of traipsing down a path toward his trick minimalism and urban recluse profile, against a giant corporate entity feels off in some way.

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9 Responses to “A Brief Interruption To Our Annual Year-End Programming Because Anthony Pappalardo Gave This Rather Frank Interview On 48 Blocks Today”

  1. Jody Says:

    He probably got locked into a contract that prohibited him from seeking another shoe sponsor while his sneaker was in production. So, not only was he not getting paid from Converse, he couldn’t look for a new gig without getting sued.

    I don’t blame the guy for dropping off the radar. I hope things turn around for him. I also think he should find a lawyer. He could probably get a settlement that could help him get his life back on track.

  2. Chris Says:

    Poor lil guy

  3. The internet Says:

    Something Josh Kalis had to add about the interview off of Slap:

    “I like Pops… well the “old” Pops.. Miss the kid, But that interview just doesn’t do anything for me.

    He skipped the whole part that really changed his career. It started with him moving from Philly to NY.
    Before he quit Alien… thats the time when something with him happened.

    The Chocolate.. Cons era was WAY passed his crucial point.

    They should re interview him and ask what happened in the latter days at Alien when he decided to move to NY and disappear.

    Being fairly close to him at least at a skate level in those days… for him to just roll out… quit Alien.. and pretend that some of us friends didn’t exist when we saw him.. whether it was at Flushing.. or even in Barcelona where he just dipped out leaving all his stuff behind and said… “maybe i’ll see you again.. maybe i won’t” (we thought he was going to the store.. little did we know he flew back to the states)… I am still confused at what was happenening.”

  4. Nightshop47 Says:

    Whilst there’s obviously more to the story, an influential pro like Pops is due better treatment than he has apparently received. Especially when his ‘urban recluse profile’ actually resulted in a pro shoe that shifted some units and that naively, we believe skateboarding to give it’s best-loved characters the benefit of the doubt.

    Still, you’ve brushed against both sides of the coin here, whilst throwing in a ‘wordworking’ tag for a bonus point. Good form.

  5. Jaysus Says:

    Like it has been said, there’s more to this story, but I can’t help but feel like Pops’ smug attitude towards his skate career (and probably life in general) has simply caught up with him. Kalis’ example is a case-in-point. Having said all that, I would very much like to see him turn it around, film, put out a part, etc.

  6. Warm Up Zone Says:

    Leave Fred Gall out of it. The man is an inspiration.

  7. jigga jauce Says:

    This website’s failed-creative-writing-MFA bullshit is consistently unreadable. Was interested in reading a response to the interview other than the usual forums, but instead I’m faced with this wall of drivel.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    after this interview he has a large contingent of skateboarding interested to see what’s next. i’m skeptical if he’s still got the goods to drop any serious footy though.

  9. Thomas Says:

    I agree with jigga. Stop trying to impress. Otherwise, interesting blog.

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