Saturday, July 3, 2010

Raymond on Jones, Takera, etc.

Here's a little more from an interview with Tamika Raymond about Asjha Jones and her new shoe line, "Takera." Raymond was Jones' roommate at UConn, a former teammate of hers with the Connecticut Sun and a former assistant coach at the college level:

On Jones starting her own shoe line: She’ll be 30 (years old) Aug. 1. We’ll all be 30 … so of course a lot’s changed. But it’s funny. When people would, ‘Ask Asjha, what do you wanna do?’ She’d say, ‘Start my own shoe line.’ For most people, it’s because they’re in high fashion or this and that. But for Asjha, she can never find shoes that were big enough for her, that were wide enough for her, that were comfortable and that were stylish. Asjha, she’s very bright. I’m probably the only one who’ll say it, she’s the smartest of the bunch. Coach (Geno Auriemma) will tell you that. But she likes shoes and she has a lot of them.

But it’s more about the practicality and a way to invest her money into something she really enjoys and something she wants to give to other people. For her whole life, she’s had to get shoes at lower-end places or if she went overseas, if she went to a Nordstrom’s and they had her size, she’d get a whole bunch of them. And now she wants to make it more accessible to taller girls, women, so they feel more comfortable and have stylish shoes. I totally understand it, and I think it’s great. The shoes are hot, so I’m excited for her.

On there being a need in the shoe market, from her own experience: This is a huge need. … Sometimes the more stylish shoe only goes up to a size 10, which none of us can fit in. Asjha’s the one who’s going to plan and do things right. I think the people she tapped to develop the shoe and the different things she likes and she doesn’t like about the prototypes she has coming out, I think she’s done her homework really well.

But is it a need? It’s a huge need. In our league, and of course, me being a coach (a former assistant at Ohio State and Kansas), having kids going to drafts and kids going to events for All-American stuff, we have 6-3, 6-4, 6-5, 6-6, 6-7, 6-8 and 6-9 girls that have to wear men’s shoes or have to wear shoes that are too small. I think it’s great (what Jones is doing).

How much has Asjha been thinking past basketball and is this a sign of it?: I don’t know exactly how much she’s thinking past basketball. But Asjha’s an extremely bright person. She can run a company and have me talk but she’s be behind the scenes doing all the As, Bs, Cs and Ds of it all.

It’s so funny. I think everybody’s going to be like, ‘Asjha Jones with a shoe line?’ But I think it’s practical for her, I think it’s something that touches home with her. Being almost the tallest person in her family, by far the tallest woman in her family, she’s had problems finding shoes that match her clothes, that match her purses and that are fashionable. So I think people will love it, I think people will buy into it because everybody knows that Asjha doesn’t play around with much.

I think it’s a great move for Asjha. I don’t know if she’s looking past basketball but it’s something she’s been thinking about for a long time. I think it’s more so, she had time. She’s had a little time off this year, it’s the first time she didn’t go overseas and she had to cater to her (Achilles’ tendon) injury, her rehab (following surgery in February). I think it was a little downtime for Asjha not to be thinking about basketball and give her time to think about something that interests. I think this is the perfect time to do it considering how much time she spent in the United States this year.