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A Melo Reception

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Poor

Carmelo Anthony

. The headband-rocking Denver Nuggets superstar was ready to blow the sneaker world apart with the release last week of his

Melo 3

s, the third in his line of Jordan-brand kicks. The shoes appeared to be a leather-clad slices of powder-blue perfection, a Melo memorial from the mid-sole on up, all for just $115. Look, on the toe, it says 15, just like his Nuggets Number! And there, on the heel, there's 410, his hometown area code! Deep down inside the shoe, there's Melo's thumbprint along with words that represent who he is: "Powerful," "Respect" and, of course, "Gemini."

Sweet -- but not sweet enough for sneakerheads in Denver and beyond. eBay sales of the shoe have been tepid, and the haters on www.niketalk.com have been less than gentle. "Melos are weak and will end up in the outlets," one sneakerhead posted. And under the forum title, "So when does Melo get his own box?" a snarky contributor spoke for the masses when he wrote, "Melo don't deserve no box!!!"

Too bad Melo didn't get shoe advice from Denver's own Bryan LaRoche, whose monstrous collection of 1,600-1,700 sneakers makes him an expert in all things soled ("Sole Survivor," September 28, 2006). Actually, he almost did. Turns out Melo stopped by the sneaker joint in the Aurora Mall where LaRoche works just the other day, to see how his new shoes were faring. He talked to the store manager, who said shoes sales looked good. If only he'd rapped with LaRoche. "I would have told him the truth," writes LaRoche in an e-mail. "The Melo 3s are actually not doing well at all for us at Aurora."

If Melo or anyone else wants to learn a thing or two about shoes, they should get their sneaker-clad feet up to Fort Collins this weekend, where the sneaker shop Unsoled, 105 East Laurel Street, will be celebrating its one-year anniversary by exhibiting the finest selections from LaRoche's gargantuan collection. The Melo M3s probably won't be in attendance. --Joel Warner

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