Chuck Taylor formal portrait
converse all star patch
Chuck Traylor as young man in pro uniform

Chuck Taylor – Columbus’ own native son

Chuck Taylor during an instruction session

There really was a "Chuck"

You may be surprised to learn that there was a real Chuck Taylor, and, he got his start right here in Columbus, Indiana.

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Chuck Taylor during an instruction session

A Bull Dog at the start

Chuck joined the Columbus, Indiana High School Bull Dogs basketball team in 1915, with no inkling he’d one day become one of the most iconic names in basketball history.

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Chuck Taylor during an instruction session

Historic City Hall

Since it was the earliest days of high school basketball, the team played games at the former City Hall, because the second story had eighteen-foot ceilings and room for over 200 spectators.

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Chuck Taylor during an instruction session

Semi-Pro at age 18

City Hall (as it looks today) was also home court of the Columbus Commercials – a kind of semi-pro team. Chuck played his first pro game one day after his high school team competed in the state finals, in 1919.

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Chuck Taylor during an instruction session

Going Pro at 19

Taylor did something nearly unthink­able by pursuing a professional basketball career when such a thing hardly existed. He was just nineteen when he played for of the Akron, Ohio Firestone Non-Skids.

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Chuck Taylor during an instruction session

The Chuck Taylor Co.

Meanwhile, Chuck’s parents moved to a modest home just north of downtown, where Chuck operated the “Chuck Taylor Co.” out of his parent’s home for years.

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Chuck Taylor during an instruction session

The rest of the story...

Of course, Chuck went on to untold fame which continues to this day, and there’s a LOT more to this story – check out the links below to learn more.

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chuck taylor video

The man behind the shoe

[ 3:45 ]

All Star history in just four minutes

[ 4:03 ]

How Converse  rocked the world

[ 7:37 ]

behind the canvas

Behind the scenes – more about Chuck

[ 3:17 ]

Audio / Rise & Fall of the Hi-Top

NPR commentator Frank Deford discusses the rise and fall, and rise again, of the Chuck Taylor hi-top. (3:43)

[ LISTEN ]

Audio / Biographer interview

All-Star: The Chuck Taylor Story features the author of the definitive biography of Chuck Taylor (34:38)

[ LISTEN ]

Chuck Taylor during an instruction session

Hall of Famer

From the Hall of Fame listing – “In 1932, Converse added Taylor’s signature to its trademark five-pronged star shoe, and sent its new basketball ambassador on the road to promote the sneaker. In addition to promoting the Converse basketball sneaker, Taylor also pursued his goal of building players, coaches, and spectator interest in the game of basketball by conducting clinics and demonstrations throughout the country…”

[ READ MORE ]

Chuck Taylor during an instruction session

The Full Story

From the Amazon listing – “His is the name on the label of the legendary Converse All-Star basketball shoe. Though the shoe has been worn by hundreds of millions, few, if any, know a thing about the man behind the name. Some even believe that there is no such person, that he is a marketer’s fabrication like Betty Crocker. (This book separates) truth from legend ― discovering that the truth was much more interesting than the myth…”

[ READ MORE ]

red Converse All-Stars

In the 1970s “Chucks” were adopted as a counter culture fashion statement as a symbol of the underdog , eventually becoming a mainstream wardrobe staple for millions. Ninety years after his name was first emblazoned on his innovative sneaker, Columbus’ own Chuck Taylor still enjoys unparalleled world-wide recognition.

Chuck Taylor during an instruction session

All Stars as a cultural icon

By the end of the 1960s, Converse was responsible for 80% of the sneaker market as a whole. This shift to casual sneakers solidified Converse All Stars as a cultural icon of the people, not just the athletic elite. Though the initial Chucks were in the classic black and white, they became available in a litany of colors and designs as well as limited and special editions.

[ THOUGHT & CO. ]

Chuck Taylor during an instruction session

Grunge Stars

Grunge stars Kurt Cobain and Winona Ryder rocked All Stars into the ’90s — the dirtier, the better. The look was later borrowed by Green Day and the All American Rejects, cementing the shoes as a mass market staple. By the end of 1997, the company reported it had produced 550 million pairs over the course of just a single year.

[ BUSTLE ]

Chuck Taylor during an instruction session

Preferred BY rAP'S eLITE

Over the years, the canvas sneaker has been donned by rap’s elite — Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, The Game, DJ Quik, and Kendrick Lamar. So, it’s only fitting that the brand’s latest campaign taps Vince Staples, one of Hip-Hop’s brightest creative phenoms from the West Coast.

[ VIBE ]

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