Payless ShoeSource announced the availability of Above The Rim branded basketball shoes at all Payless stores nationwide and

“The fresh position of the ATR brand with its new focus on supporting young, passionate basketball players to rise on and off the court is meaningful and relevant for today's youth,” said LuAnn Via, CEO of Payless ShoeSource.  “ATR is more than a basketball brand — its driving a new culture in basketball and in our communities — and we at Payless are thrilled to be a part of that.  The fresh styling and technology of the Payless ATR collection combined with the credibility and heritage of this iconic basketball brand, its NBA player support, community outreach, and the affordable Payless price point, make this new footwear collection very exciting for shoppers.”

Available now in men's and kids' starting at $40 (men's) and $35 (kids') a pair, all ATR shoes feature performance footwear technology including a compression-molded EVA mid-sole for superior cushioning and support, a high-grip outsole important for basketball's quick lateral moves and high-top support, as well as the latest colors and styling.  An expanded line is planned for this year's back-to-school season.

ATR has announced two endorsers so far: Martell Webster of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Will Bynum of the Detroit Pistons.  Both players support the brand in community-based programs, as well as in product development, ATR expects to announce additional players to its roster during the upcoming season. 

The brand has also launched a youth leadership and development grant program, A.T.R. (Assisting The Rise) Project, where it will identify and support a growing group of community leaders from across the U.S. who are dedicated to mentoring and assisting the rise of young players in their communities.  These ambassadors help the players channel the passion that they have for the game of basketball into other important areas of their lives including education and community service. Selected ATR ambassadors — such as coaches, after school program leaders or community leaders — will be given funding from ATR to supply tools, as well as ATR performance basketball shoes provided by Payless, and additional resources to assist the youth they serve, encouraging them to rise to challenges on the court, in the classroom and in their communities.

The 2011 ATR ambassadors include: Bernard Bowen, New York City, with the group, Beyond Basketball; Tavio Hobson, Seattle, with the organization A Plus; and Charles “Chuck” Torres, out of Los Angeles, with the association he leads, Better Through Basketball.