Chuck Taylor (b. 1901), the namesake of Converse’s iconic canvas basketball shoe, was a basketball player from Indiana. But he was far better known as a salesman than a basketball player. Taylor, driving around the country in a white Cadillac filled with Converse All-Stars, took a little known sneaker and put it on the feet of hoopsters across the nation. It was because of Taylor’s prowess as a salesman, not a basketball player, that his name was added to the shoe’s logo, fittingly beside the star.
Taylor’s biography calls him a “true ambassador of basketball” in Europe and South America as well as the US — and a “consummate marketing genius.” Chuck Taylor is in the Sporting Goods Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.