If you were to be brutally honest, you could say that basketball players are really just much-loved, obscenely talented, incredibly well-paid freaks of nature. It must be hopelessly impractical being that large, and most people will never be able to grasp some of the everyday struggles pro b-ball players have to go through – like buying comically large dress shoes, for example.

The people at Friedman’s shoes in Atlanta are aware of this, though, as they’ve built their entire business on catering to this incredibly large (in terms of size that is, not numbers) market. The store is renowned as the go-to destinations for the likes of Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Mike Tyson and various other giants when they needed a pair of fancy leather dress shoes made into a size 22.

As part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 Shorts documentary series, the sports publication profiles the history of Friedman’s shoes and the modern day struggles of a small artisanal business trying to compete in the globalized Internet age. There’s even a cameo appearance from Shaq himself.

For more from the American sports channel, watch ESPN investigate FIFA corruption allegations.

Words by Aleks Eror
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