Home Air Jordans SBD Interview: Sneaker Legend - Mark 'Jumpman' Bostic

SBD Interview: Sneaker Legend – Mark ‘Jumpman’ Bostic

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When I first got on with Sneaker Bar Detroit one of the first things that I wanted to do was meet JumpanBostic and do an interview with him. Ever since I can remember I’ve had people that I’ve looked up to and respected. Sometimes it was genre specific. For example, when it came to basketball it was Michael Jordan. Boxing, it was Muhammad Ali. Football, it was Deion Sanders. Even when wrestling was hot I was a ‘Stone Cold Steve Austin’ guy. But when it came to collecting sneakers it was none other than Detroit’s own sneaker legend, Mark “Jumpman” Bostic. Funny thing is I’ve lived in Detroit my whole life and never knew he lived here too. But like everyone else I followed him in magazine’s and news articles. I subscribed and followed his YouTube videos. For me what made him different was his genuine love of the shoe, in particular Air Jordans. JumpmanBostic was one of the first to do comparison videos which might not sound like much but to a genuine sneakerhead you want to know all the ins and outs of a shoe. He cared about the history of each shoe he owned.

Now at this point he had already become well known to almost everyone in the sneaker community but I still felt like he hadn’t gotten his full respect. I believe that that’s partly due to him being the humble guy that he is and being looked over for more well-known collectors with even bigger egos and personalities. But most sneakerheads still respect him. They respect what he stands for and they respect his come up in the sneaker game. He’s relatable to them. When I finally did meet him I couldn’t believe how down to earth he was. So now me and Jumpman have this big brother, little brother thing. Sometimes I can be too cynical and he’ll let me know when I’m being too harsh or critical but he always shows love to whatever moves I make. He asks for nothing. For him he simply does it for the love of the game.

Rashone/ SBD: Ok so everyone knows about the legend, but what about the man? Who is Mark Bostic and what’s his background?

JumpmanBostic: I was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I played basketball, football, and baseball in high school at “Ann Arbor Pioneer”. After high school I played junior college basketball at “Central Arizona College” from 1981-1983. I graduated and went on to play at the “University of San Diego” where in my junior season we won the WCAC (West Coast Athletic Conference). This was the first time EVER that the University of San Diego made it to the NCAA tournament. The major player that I played against was John Stockton, who played for Gonzaga University. After college I played in the Mexican professional league before returning home to Ann Arbor, in 1995, after my mother became sick. She passed July 29, 1995. After my mom’s passing I joined the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department as a non-sworn deputy. I also applied for the DPD (Detroit Police Department) but the Sheriff’s Department hired me first. In May of 1996 I joined the police academy for the DPD after leaving the sheriff’s department. I wanted to be a street (undercover) officer. I won actual gold medals in the “Police Olympics” for basketball and running the 400 relay in track. While accomplishing all of this I was still collecting Jordan’s.

Rashone/SBD: Man I had no idea you accomplished all of that outside of sneaker collecting. Sounds like you were a pretty good basketball player. What prevented you from continuing semi-pro ball or even taking it to the next level?

JumpmanBostic: As far as going “pro” in the NBA I went to a free agent tryout for the New Jersey Nets but it was impossible to be seen. There were over 1,000 players my height alone and only 1 spot for training camp. The good thing was I was able to be seen by agents to play in Mexico, which was a majority soccer country but basketball was gaining popularity. It was a great opportunity and a lot of fun. My mother became sick while I was living in San Diego and playing semi-pro in Tijuana, Mexico. I decided to move back home to be near my mother so I ended my basketball career in Mexico. My mother stated she missed me numerous times, as I did her, so it was a no brainer to move back home to be near her. She eventually passed away from a massive heart attack and I just couldn’t leave. I stayed and began my law enforcement career and continued my sneaker collecting.

Rashone/SBD: Wow, I can see your mother meant a lot to you. You two sounded close. What impact did she and your father have in your life?

JumpmanBostic: My parents were EVERYTHING. Both of them were there for everything. But my mom was my confidant and friend. She disciplined me when needed. My dad, wow, what an honor to be his son. A WWII vet and survivor of many surgeries and skin grafts to 90% of his body. He saved other soldier’s lives while he was injured himself. He received the “Purple Heart” and many other decorative medals. Without them I wouldn’t be who I am today. Those who know me, I mean those who have taken the time to know ‘Mark’, understand what I mean.

Rashone/SBD: I completely understand. So throughout all of this you still managed to find time to collect sneakers. When did you first begin and what shoe started it all for you?

JumpmanBostic: I’ve loved sneakers for as long as I can remember, way before Jordans. In high school I rocked Converse. When I got to USD (University of San Diego) I was rocking Nike. In 1985-86 we switched to Adidas. I hated those shoes (laughs). That was the last time I’ve rocked anything but Jordans. It started in college, in 1985, when I saw the “Chicago” and the “Banned”’ 1s released. That’s when my addiction (or ‘A_Kicktion’ as he calls it) started. I remember the commercial for the Air Jordan 1s. It was so much anticipation because of the commercials alone. The images of FLIGHT. MJ appearing to fly with the Chicago skyline in the background. The black, red, and white track suit. The “Chicago” colorway was my first pair. I had to wait on the ‘Banned’ colorway because I was a college student, and in 1985, believe it or not, $65 was a lot of money. Since then it’s been passion, love, and dedication to one brand.

My dad, wow, what an honor to be his son.

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Rashone/SBD: Dedication to ONE brand? I always knew you were a huge Air Jordan collector but no other sneaker interests you enough to cop them?

JumpmanBostic: I get everything I need for sports and training out of this one brand. Basketball shoes for hoopin’. Boots for these Michigan winters. Trunners for aerobic and cross training. Flip flops. Casual, and even dress shoes, for those occasions when I need to step out of sneakers. With each and every shoe is a memory or inspiration. Leroy Smith was the person who beat him out for the last spot on his high school varsity team and MJ created a shoe in remembrance of that. Now I have recently started having interest in KD’s (Kevin Durant), but that’s it.

Rashone/SBD: I think we can all figure out HOW you got your nickname, but was it something that you started calling yourself or did someone else give you that name?

JumpmanBostic: Orlando Vesey, a friend of mine in law enforcement from my “Wayne County Sheriff’s” days, gave me the name “JumpmanBostic” after seeing my collection many years ago. That has stuck with me since 1995-96.

Rashone/SBD: Typical sneakerhead question; are you team “Rock” or “Stock”?

JumpmanBostic: You already know I’m #TeamRockDontStock. I have one pair that I’ll NEVER wear because it was the sneaker of championship #6. A pair of “The Last Shot” 14s. I just believe shoes are meant to be rocked. But I’m sure most collectors have at least one pair that has that “I’ll Never Wear” value.

It’s sad to see the state of the sneakers today. Quality wise, the shoes are not up to par.

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Rashone/SBD: Obviously you’re a huge Michael Jordan fan (duh, JUMPMANbostic). The success of the Air Jordan shoe is due largely to the success of Michael Jordan the basketball player. You’re old enough to remember what it was like to watch him play from beginning to end. What was it like for you, as a fan, to follow his career?

JumpmanBostic: I’ve seen MJ play live, which was really amazing. People don’t know that I’m the same age as Michael Jordan. He was born February 17th, 1963 and I was born 2 days before him. I remember in college running from practice back to the dorms to watch MJ and UNC (University of North Carolina) playing on ESPN with my roommate and teammate, Chris C. I was already a fan and we were both in college at the same time. When he declared for early entry into the NBA, after winning the gold with the USA Olympic team, I continued to follow his career onto the next stage. I was initially a fan of his ability to play the game of basketball. I admired his will, even in high school when he was cut from the varsity team as a sophomore. His will to practice and comeback stronger, quicker, faster was amazing.

Rashone/SBD: Ok, I believe it’s safe to assume that we both agree that Michael Jordan is the greatest player ever (sorry Kobe and LeBron fans). So you collect pretty much any and everything Jordan Brand has to offer? Has there ever been a Jordan shoe you didn’t like and passed on?

JumpmanBostic: With all my years of collecting I can’t think of one particular shoe I passed on because I didn’t like it. There’s been many retro sneakers that I’ve passed on because I didn’t think they were worth my hard earned money.

Rashone/SBD: Yeah the quality has slipped some the last few years. The word is that Jordan Brand is supposed to step up the quality on their shoes in 2015, albeit for $200. Since we’re on the subject, what’s your thoughts on that?

JumpmanBostic: It’s sad to see the state of the sneakers today. Quality wise, the shoes are not up to par. Jordan Brand is trying to win back ‘Jordan’ sneaker lovers with this 2015 re-mastered series. Well, that could’ve been done at the present cost of sneakers. It’s been done on the sneakers of their choosing like the recently retro’d “Laney” 5s, the “History of Jordan”, the “Bin” series, and the “Quai 54s” for examples. A lot of the Team Jordan shoes and Fusions have had better quality than retro shoes that released in the same year. They can do it on a regular basis but choose not to because the shoes will sell out no matter the quality.

To me resellers killed the sneaker culture, temporarily I hope.

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Rashone/SBD: Ok, so you’ve basically been around since the beginning, when sneakers were becoming a trend and a collectible. Take us back to how things were. Some people say things have gotten worse, specifically the chaos and violence. On some level I agree, but some things, like release date information, have gotten better. Most of that has to do with the rise of social media and the internet. What’s your take on all that?

JumpmanBostic: Back in the day sneaker releases were on Wednesdays only and all you had was a calendar from the various sneaker stores letting you know which shoes were dropping. No internet, resellers, or even hypebeasts to deal with. [We got information from] TV commercials and from going into the stores. The TV commercials had people hyped about releases, but that calendar was my way of getting the release dates. Back in the day, yes, people were robbing other people and taking J’s off of their feet. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed over the years. But no way, not on release day was there violence like it is now. People fight over places in line. It’s just that now things happen before the store opens and even when the store opens.

Rashone/SBD: See now for me that kind of ruins the whole “release day” experience. I feel as if that experience of networking and waiting in line for a release is part of the essence of being a “sneakerhead”. Do you agree?

JumpmanBostic: Yes, I remember the days of waiting in line for sneakers and having throwback discussions of the sneakers being released. Now a days I don’t have to camp out but I do pay for my sneakers. I miss the camping days but it’s so different now then back in the day. If you’re not the first 1-10 people in line you may not get the shoe. Back in the day for a person in line to double up was rare, now one person will be allowed to buy the whole stock if they want at many stores here in the Detroit area. The saddest part of the sneaker world now is the reselling. The love of sneakers has gone to selling them as a way of living. People camp for days and weeks to cop entire stocks only to step out of the store and try to sell them to people still in line for double or even triple the retail price. Or they post them on eBay for a ridiculous amount before having them in hand. People say it’s the consumers that keep the resellers in business, and I agree. Why? Well, because true sneaker lovers want the shoe and they’ll pay over retail to have it. It’s truly sad but that’s where it is now. I hope it ends but it doesn’t look that way.

Rashone/SBD: You don’t see it ending? Why is that?

JumpmanBostic: Sneaker shows, websites, and resellers are all factors. I go to sneaker shows to display my collection and many times I’m the only one displaying and I’m surrounded by resellers. I’ve sold a few shoes and those that have bought from me couldn’t believe my prices because the next seller down had the same shoe for $500+. I consider myself and some others, “SELLERS”. Those that sell occasionally and for reasonable prices, not every released shoe and multiples of the same shoe. To me resellers killed the sneaker culture, temporarily I hope. I love to appear at sneaker shows and talk kicks but it’s sad to see rubber and leather sell for a car note or a mortgage payment.

Rashone/SBD: Dude you’re preaching to the choir. What was the craziest shoe release that you’ve ever been to?

JumpmanBostic: I remember that like it was yesterday. It was the 2001 release of the Cool Grey 11s. I was at the Footlocker on Grand River and Greenfield [here in Detroit]. The line was long and people were beating on the door in anticipation of the door opening. One person at a time was let in to purchase the shoe. I was allowed inside the store to help with security. I already had my pair, but I saw people get the shoe and get outside the door and get jacked as they walked down the street. It was crazy how people waited on people to exit and rob them. Days after the release, Cool Grey 11s were taken off of people’s feet as they wore them. People were shot and even killed over them.

Rashone/SBD: Damn shame. I love my shoes but it has never been that deep where I’m either willing to kill someone or die over them. Let’s lighten the mood. Which shoe, if any, have you tried desperately to get on release day but came up empty handed?

JumpmanBostic: The 2006 DMP (Defining Moments Package). I was at Mr. Alan’s on Telegraph and I-96 next in line behind a guy that wore a size 12. I “checked” prior to lining up (that’s what you do when camping, you “feet check”). This guy and I are let in at the same time. The last 12 just sold before we got in. I said, “Damn”. I knew what this guy was gonna do. Yep, he bought the size 13 and I missed out by one person that bought a size 13 because the size 12 sold out. There’s also been times when I missed out on releases, between 2006-2008, due to my injury suffered as a police officer. I almost had my leg amputated. Thank God for Dr. Ordonez who saved my leg after numerous surgeries and skin grafts to my right knee. So needless to say I missed some releases, but some I’ve been able to pick up on eBay and from private sellers.

My OG Jordans were stolen by the movers. I made the mistake of putting “Jordan sneakers” on the shipping box.

Rashone/SBD: Let’s switch gears for a second. Every sneakerhead has their “down and out” moment. That period of time where life comes at you hard and you have to step out of the game for a minute. For me it was when I was laid off for almost a year and I had to sell some of my collection to make ends meet. What types of “down and out” moments have you experienced over the course of collecting?

JumpmanBostic: Wowwww, where do I start? As I moved from San Diego back to Michigan a moving company was hired to transport my belongings to Michigan. Everything made it except one box marked “Jordan sneakers”. My OG Jordans were stolen by the movers. I made the mistake of putting “Jordan sneakers” on the shipping box. All of my OG’s from Jordan 1 through Jordan 10 were stolen, that angered me as I’m sure you can understand. The moving company ran its own internal investigation and all I was told was that everything picked up was delivered. I got the police involved and they told me the same thing. I know that wasn’t true but that was the final answer. Just know if I ever move again I’ll be transporting every last sneaker in my collection personally.

Rashone/SBD: Wow you’re a better man than me. There would’ve been a homicide to go along with those stolen items that day. (Laughs). So is that the worst thing you’ve had happen to you or were there worse obstacles than that?

JumpmanBostic: Another major obstacle was in 2001, I was married to a woman less than one year. We dated off and on from 1995-2001. It didn’t last. She was caught cheating and I moved out. She filed for divorce before I did and made up lies, which actually were what she was caught doing. To make a long story short, she lied in court saying WE were collecting Michael Jordan shoes, memorabilia, clothes, etc. together. So the judge ordered me to give her 100 pairs of Jordan sneakers from my collection and ALL of the autographed memorabilia. Most things I had before we met, some I bought while we were together. She didn’t know anything about what I had except for pictures taken of the then “Jordan Room”. She had help. A family member assisted her with coming to my new house to take pictures of items and give them to her so she could name the things I mentioned earlier that she felt were of great value and that would ultimately hurt me. I never thought that my own blood would do that. But I complied with the divorce order and turned over the items. I almost quit [collecting].

They gave me a custom cover that read “727 Jordans in One Detroit Basement”

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Rashone/SBD: Man I would have a hard time staying positive let alone continue collecting. Hearing what you went through and seeing how you handled it all I actually respect you more. Have you always had that level of class or is it something you’ve obtained through age, experience, and maturity?

JumpmanBostic: Great question. I keep and have always kept myself levelheaded and humble. God bless my mom and dad for that teaching and many others.

Rashone/SBD: Ok so now we’re past all of that and you’re still collecting Air Jordans. Your notoriety starts to build and word spreads about you and your collection. When did you start to see or feel the size of your popularity grow in the sneaker community?

JumpmanBostic: My good friend Robert, I call him “Big Homie”, he saw my collection when I had 250 or so pairs of shoes. [He] told me years ago, “Jumpman, you’re bigger than what you think. You just don’t realize it.” This was in 2008. I never thought that I was popular like that. I heard it numerous times but it didn’t sink in. It wasn’t until the last year or so that I’ve seen and felt the love, support, and respect of many in the sneaker culture. Sure there’s a small percentage of haters and trolls but I’ve dealt with that my entire life. To be requested as the GOH (Guest of Honor) at sneaker events was a huge eye opener for me. In 2011, I went to Kixpo in Dallas, Texas and I was treated like a star. That started opening my eyes along with, ironically, Issue #23 of the “Sneaker Freaker” magazine. That’s what started my explosion on social media. They gave me a custom cover that read “727 Jordans in One Detroit Basement”, along with the sneaker that started my #A_Kicktion (addiction), the “Chicago” 1. That was huge, and each year after that more and more positivity and opportunities have come. This year, after you and I finally met, you expressed many things over our many conversations that have opened my eyes. It’s all very humbling. I say to myself “I’m just like you. You love sneakers and so do I.” I’m thankful to have the respect of many in sneaker culture. I truly believe how you treat others reflects how you’re treated in return.

Rashone/SBD: Yeah but with love comes hate. With positivity comes negativity. What was the down side to the fame you received in the sneaker community?

JumpmanBostic: Being in sneaker culture brings plenty of drama, along with things like haters, jealousy, competition, and people that just have nothing better to do but troll. I’ve had hate from simply refusing to do collaboration videos with people to people having ‘hate videos’ made of me [mocking] my injury, my family, and being a police officer. I’m still here and many of those trolls are ‘has beens’, and what they tried didn’t work. Needless to say I’ve been through a lot. Some have even apologized for taking part in some straight up hate of me. That’s showed me a lot that they could ‘man up’ and apologize. I’m here to stay. This is my love, passion, and hobby.

Rashone/SBD: See there you go forgiving someone again. (Laughs). So now that you’re ‘big time’ when you go out doing your daily routine do you get noticed and recognized often?

JumpmanBostic: I actually am recognized when I’m out. But when I’m out of town at sneaker events, go shopping, out to eat, or hit the mall people come up to me asking for pictures and even autographs.

Rashone/SBD: Surreal. I need some of that to happen to me. (Laughs). But we’re all human. Some fall to the temptation of becoming “Hollywood” and start hating on others. Was there ever a point where you felt jealous of other prominent sneakerheads? Like you are due more respect?

JumpmanBostic: Great question. No, I don’t get envious or jealous of other sneakerheads getting attention. However, it is upsetting that people begin to think they’re better than others and they feel they’ve become sneaker celebrities, or “shoelebrities”, from the attention shown by mainly major companies throwing items their way. I’ve never been in competition with anyone. I’ve not cared if others received things that I’m not. You asked do I feel I’m due more respect. I feel respect is earned. I feel I’ve earned a lot of respect and feel people are just starting to find out about the #BasementOfTheJs. My love for sneakers and the respect of the history and other sneaker fam won’t fade. I just separate myself from anyone negative in the culture.

I’m honored to be chosen to be a part of it. I’m just a regular man working two jobs to support my family and hobby.

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Rashone/SBD: I recently interviewed Jay Lawrence, the creator of the “Air Jordan” encyclopedia, and he talked about the same things that you just mentioned. He said that for those reasons alone he chose you over anyone else to write the forward in his book. I think that in a nutshell embodies how far your impact is in the sneaker community.

JumpmanBostic: People like Jay Lawrence, Robert Marks, JStar25, you, and so many others have shown and expressed so much respect and support to me. The encyclopedia that Jay is doing is gonna be amazing. I’m honored to be chosen to be a part of it. I’m just a regular man working two jobs to support my family and hobby. I’m thankful to Jay and many others for the support and opportunities. I’ve also appeared in a movie documentary called “Laced Up” by @TippyWalk and @OSDLive (Shawn Williams).

Rashone/SBD: Yeah I’ve heard about that. I need to check that out. Now I’ve seen your itinerary and your plate is full. Does the constant grind get to you? Especially going to these different sneaker events. Do you ever get tired of it all?

JumpmanBostic: Never. I enjoy going to events. With my job I just can’t make as many as I’d like to make. I enjoy meeting fellow sneaker fam. I get to chop it up, answer questions, ask questions, and talk history of kicks with both young and old sneaker fam. The sneaker events I’ve been invited to. Being the GOH. [Being] asked to display, means a lot to me. I talked to you from Lincoln, Nebraska this year at the “S.O.A.P.” (Sneakers Over Any Proposition) event. Again, I received so much love and was treated with outstanding hospitality.

Rashone/SBD: I remember when we attended the “Michigan Sneaker Xchange” a few months ago, and while we were there a little boy approached you and told you that you were his inspiration and the reason he got into sneakers. Do you get that a lot? What’s your response to something like that?

JumpmanBostic: I remember that. Yes, I get that a lot at sneaker shows and on social media. To be honest, people like you and Robert Marks have been telling me that. It’s recently started to settle in. We’ve talked about this several times starting on that day at that event. He was thrilled to talk to me and take a picture with me. He appeared to think I wasn’t real or something. I had to tell him that I’m just like him. I love sneakers and he can approach me anytime. Some people seem hesitant to talk sometimes. I’m always open to chop it up, take pictures, and answer questions; whether at shows or on social media.

Rashone/SBD: So that’s what it’s like being JumpmanBostic? What does your family think of you?

JumpmanBostic: My wife supports me and my #A_Kicktion to Jordans. I take care of home, bills, and my family before I cop kicks. She’s the ONLY woman to support me with this and she’s the one who gave me the idea to put pictures of my shoes on the boxes. I see many other sneaker fam doing that now with printed pictures or stickers. It feels good to know others notice the things I do and try them or use them to their benefit. I’ll always remain humble. It’s how Mr. and Mrs. Bostic raised me.

Rashone/SBD: Last question. Anyone who follows you on social media often sees that you daily put out positive messages of wisdom. Being an elder statesman in the sneaker community, are there any words of wisdom that you have for this younger generation of sneakerheads?

JumpmanBostic: My number one rule is “Cop and Rock What You Like.” Never EVER let others decide what you like. That’s the first step to being a hypebeast, because you’re not in control of you. You’re being controlled and thus you’ll be considered a ‘hype’.

Thanks for this interview. Thanks to all that support the #BasementOfTheJs and me as well. Thanks to “Big Homie” Robert, Christiann G, and sooo many others for all of the support in the sneaker community. I’ve never had an interview like this. Hopefully people will understand more about ‘Mark’ the person and ‘JumpmanBostic’ the sneaker collector.

If you haven’t already done so you can find and follow JumpmanBostic on Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter. Stayed tuned to SneakerBarDetroit.com for all of your sneaker news, reviews, and release dates. #sneakerheadout

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Rashone Bryant
Sneakerhead since 1997. Married. Father of one. Currently works for Chrysler and writes for SBD. Favorite Kicks - OG "Flu Game" Air Jordan 12
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