First things first, welcome back Mike! Looked like a belter of a trip and a whole lot of business going on!
We thought it would be a great idea to allow our followers into your trip findings along the way!
Dave Baulk - I think the one thing on everyone’s mind is Allen Iverson! What was it like meeting the now enshrined hall of famer?
Mike Lazaris - Let me start by saying I felt like a school girl at a 1D concert. A.I. was late to his own HOF induction just a couple days prior so considering I only waited 2 hours for him on the day of his sneaker launch. The weirdest thing about the whole experience was that there were some guys there that didn’t seem phased by the Answer at all, and then there were people on the other end of the spectrum (myself) who were absolutely pumped. Seemed like it was the local New Yorkers who were used to regular celebrity appearances in-store in the big apple… well that’s all that I can put it down to because this was one of my highlights. In terms of Iverson himself, he was pretty chilled (as usual), showed up with his entourage and they all waited patiently for the autograph signing for a couple hours. He showed a lot of patience for every fan that was there. Much respect for him.
DB - You had the opportunity to tour MSG. What can you tell us about that building and its history for those who are yet to step foot in the mecca of Basketball?
ML - Mate, I don’t know where to start – it recently underwent a huge renovation to improve the seating and acoustics etc. More simply, even from one of the nose bleed seats, you don’t miss a thing. I saw the arena the day after the MTV VMA’s and you could see how much work goes into the production set up and pack down (on the daily). Saw the Knicks locker room – apparently round as it promotes “team spirit” with every player in sight of everyone.
DB - You had the opportunity to get to a lot of sneaker stores. How full was the suitcase on the way back haha!?
ML - HAHA you mean suitcases? I arrived with one empty suitcase and returned with two bulging at the seams. I’m currently putting together my list of top 10 stores in NYC for the sneaker heads. Checked out a lot more than that but they were my favourites in there for sure. Flight club, dubbed the city’s “Tourist Trap” by the locals due to the inflated consignment prices, was really dope to see the shoe walls but MAN they were pricy. I picked up a pair of NMD’s that were priced at US$250, but when I asked for size 10 I was told that size 10 cost $350 (because it was a more popular size)… I think the key was covering as many stores as popular because I eventually found the NMD’s at a footlocker in Soho for $140. Did I mention that I somehow copped a pair of the Bred 1’s in a 700 person raffle? I couldn’t believe it either. I guarded them with my life the rest of the day – weirded the mrs out a bit.
DB - Favourite moment in NYC? (I’d think seeing the GF would be up there….haha)
ML - Yeah you’re on the money there – caught up with my girl who has been travelling in the states for a few months. She was obviously the highlight but by the way I acted in the days following my Iverson meet & greet, I’m sure she would disagree. Let’s just say that Allen Iverson and my girlfriend are my favourite people.
DB - You looked very busy in Philly. How was it seeing the 76ers train (Did Simmons look the goods?), and meeting Aussie Brett Brown?
ML - We talkin’ bout practice? Yeah it was an amazing experience. Coach Brown approved us to sit in on Sixer’s practice one day and we were lucky enough that he also welcomed us into his office HQ to have a chat post practice. Simmons looking good – putting on some weight but still looking agile and also Embiid was impressive (first I’ve seen his game). They just need to stay healthy. Okafor was on the sidelines but he will be back soon. I’m actually REALLY excited to watch this young team this year aside from Simmons who is obviously going to be fun to watch.
DB - You also met with the merchandising team from the NBA in New York. What was that like and how do you think it’ll help with the stores here?
ML - Great honour to meet the personnel at the head of NBA’s International Merchandising team and it was extremely beneficial, not just for Throwback but more simply for Australian basketball and the bridges we are building over to the states. We are continuing to grow the offering of NBA merchandise in store and online (with both a greater range of teams but also a greater variety of items in stock including authentic jerseys, jackets, hoodies, accessories, figurines etc). Stay tuned because we have hit the ground running from the second I landed back home in Sydney.
DB - We hear you had a little incident in NYC at a Kanye concert but were lucky enough to see him again in DC. Do tell the story?
ML - Hahaha I knew you would bring this up! Yesssss I got food poisoning from the chicken in MSG (Madison Square Garden) and only caught the first 15 minutes of Pablo before I was spewing up in the toilets and subsequently left the arena to go home. I was pretty devastated but the next morning my amazing girlfriend surprised me with tickets to his next concert in Washington DC in a couple days, hence the side trip we made there. This is the 6th time I’ve seen him live and was EASILY the best concert, possibly from any artist I’ve ever seen. The production was amazing with the suspended stage and lighting and the acoustics were deafening. Getting chills reliving it right now.
I am super lucky to have experienced this trip and am so grateful that I have the best job in the world. It’s time to get back to work now… HUGE PLANS AHEAD and I am pumped! Thanks Bauky.
We’re glad to have you back Mike and look forward to the exciting times ahead at the Throwback Store with all the great knowledge you’ve picked up on your trip!!