TV Review – “SneakerCenter feat. Sheryl Swoopes” on ESPN+

ESPN+ is loaded with context that looks beyond the final scores of your favorite sports and into all of the details that bring the full product together. SneakerCenter focuses on all of those “sneakerheads” in and around the world of sports, as well as the history of sneakers in sports.

The latest episode features basketball legend Sheryl Swoopes and takes a look back at her iconic career and impressive list of accomplishments, including the fact that she was the first female basketball player to ever receive her own shoe.

As always, the episode start with a tease of this week’s special guest. This opener features Swoopes discussing how she was the first woman to ever sign with Nike and get her own shoe. If that’s not enough to keep you interested as a sneaker fan, I don’t know what is.

We then jump to the recurring segment called “Live @ Da BBQ,” which this week takes us back to SneakerCon for a look at sneaker resellers. I suppose this segment would be interesting if you didn’t know sneaker reselling was a thing, but for the rest of us, it’s essentially just like scrolling around eBay.

Next up is “Sneaker Speak,” which takes us through quick chats with several NBA stars about some of their most embarrassing sneaker memories. In the past, this segment has focused on one player, but I liked this format as it gave us insight from a handful of stars. This is the kind of thing I would like to see more of on SneakerCenter. Fans are always going to be interested in hearing sneaker stories from their favorite players.

We also got a segment called “Kickin’ It” which features New England Patriots running back James White. I was excited to see this segment was focusing on an athlete from another sport other than basketball. However, I was quickly disappointed when all the segment really added up to was scrolling through White’s Instagram feed. Still, I would like to see more of this segment with athletes from other sports in the future.

Of course, we also had “1 of 1” which features different shoe customizers working on sneakers for their respective episode’s featured guest. I typically enjoy this segment, but unfortunately this week’s seemed a bit shorter than usual. I would have liked to see more of customizer Ryan Bare’s work. Side note: what is with all these talented artists making SpongeBob shoes?

The remaining segments, in my opinion, were the weakest. “Slept on Butters” features one of the show’s hosts just listing some of his favorite sneakers that weren’t very popular. The segment reminded me of a Peter Griffin podcast. And finally, “Sneaker Center Honors” looked at some of the best sneakers worn in the WNBA this year. Again, it was pretty much just listing sneakers.

Finally, we catch up with Swoopes who discusses her famed career, from being the first woman to sign with the WNBA to reaching the basketball hall of fame. She talks about being starstruck by Michael Jordan, which is funny because she is considered to be the Michael Jordan of the women’s game (as is mentioned in this episode). This interview is great because you can really hear Swoopes’ passion for the game and for sneakers come though. Especially, when she shares a nice story about the first pair of her own shoes that she bought, which she got for a young girl who she met in the store.

Overall, this latest episode of SneakerCenter is one of my least favorites. Aside from the chat with Swoopes, the other segments fell flat for me this week, with the lone exception being “Sneaker Speak.” As always though, it’s still worth watching for the talk with the special guest.

SneakerCenter is available now on ESPN+. Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and can cancel at any time.

Mike Mack
Mack is the Editorial Director for Marvel and ESPN content and he has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed "nerd."