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The Chuck Taylor story

It all started in Columbus, Indiana

You may be surprised to learn that there was a real Chuck Taylor . . . and . . . he called Columbus home . . . and . . . he got his start right here, playing ball in the historic City Hall, right across the street from the current Visitors Center.

chuck taylor

A Bull Dog at the start

Chuck Taylor 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

Historic City Hall

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

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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 Goes Pro

Pursuing a pro basketball career was unheard of in 1919 – just imagine a high school kid heading off to Broadway . . . before there was a Broadway.

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The Chuck Taylor Co.

Meanwhile, Chuck’s parents had moved to a modern Swiss chalet–style home a couple of miles north of his old high school in Columbus. Chuck ran  the “Chuck Taylor Co.” out of his parent’s home for years – not the actual house…

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chuck taylor

More about chuck

Still more about Chuck Taylor and his exploits and his accomplishments…

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video snapshots

Get the fascinating history of the iconic sneaker in just four minutes

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Find out how Converse All Stars rocked the world

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Radio shows and podcasts about Chuck Taylor and the Converse shoe

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NPR waxes poetic

NPR commentator Frank Deford waxes poetic about the rise and fall and rise again of the Chuck Taylor hi-top.
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Interview with Chuck biographer

All-Star: The Chuck Taylor Story – featuring the author of the definitive biography of Chuck Taylor
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most popular, all time

The foremost authority on tennis shoes talks with the Soleful podcast about the most popular shoe of all time.
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Still more quick snapshots about Chuck and Converse

behind the canvas

Go behind the scenes at Converse to learn more about Chuck

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The man behind the shoe

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Chuck’s listing at the Basketball Hall of Fame

In the summer of 1921, Chuck Taylor hobbled into a Chicago Converse sales office complaining of sore feet and persuaded executives to create a shoe especially for basketball. Taylor, who was a two-time All-State selection at Columbus High School and a journeyman jump shooter for eleven professional seasons, was an entrepreneur and involved in all facets of basketball promotion.

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.

Initially, “Chucks” were only available in high or low canvas in either black or white, and sold only in sporting goods stores. Converse All-Stars became the best-selling basketball shoe in history, making Chuck Taylor’s name a household word.

Chucks ain’t just for basketball, as you well know…

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Converse ad featuring Bobbie Millie Brown

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Converse Introduces The Chuck Taylor All Star 2

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“Not only is there a Chuck Taylor for every occasion, they bring a coolness to every outfit whether you are looking for a basic tennis shoe to wear under trousers or the perfect sneaker to take a dress down a notch. It’s why we always stash an emergency pair in trunks for any shoot for Vogue.”

Seems everyone loves their Chucks!

Millie Bobbie Brown

Male Celebrity

Taylor Swift

The Ramones

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