Everyone who knew Gary Warnett or was an admirer of his work was shocked and saddened to hear of his tragic passing on Wednesday. I've seen lots of kind words, high praise, and thoughtful condolences offered across the internet. I suppose it's a small consolation to see such widespread recognition of the things we'll all remember him for.
When the world loses someone who is the best ever at what they did in life, proper acknowledgement is due\u2014and Gary was that. He would have likely scoffed at being labeled a "sneaker journalist\u201d or \u201ccultural historian,\u201d but the fact is that he was one of a small handful of guys who laid the groundwork for something so seemingly preposterous to actually be a viable way to make a living.
First and foremost, Gary was a brilliant guy with a kind demeanor and razor-sharp wit. I wasn't a close friend of his, but I'm fortunate to have had the privilege of knowing him personally for the last eight or nine years. We'd always chat at industry events and exchange emails from time to time. When I was working in media, I'd try to find reasons for him to write stuff for me every chance I got.
The first time I met Gary was in Cleveland at Nike's unveiling of the LeBron 7....