Some people collect fun stuff, like vintage roadsters. Other people collect boring stuff, like stamps. Unsurprisingly, many basketball players collect shoes.
Depending on how you view it, collecting sneakers falls somewhere in between "pretty cool" and a "life mission" on the swag scale.
Of course, NBA players get hooked up with all sorts of free stuff, and shoes are no exception. The most talented guys in the league get courted by shoe companies like the belle of the ball. Inking a deal guarantees lots of free kicks and mandates brand loyalty.
But these shoes are more than just something you put on your feet.
Around the country and the globe, basketball sneakers have become so iconoclastic, so fetishized, that fans crave confirmation of whether their favorite players are as shoe-obsessed as them.
In short, they are.
These are some of the NBAers whose shoe collections go far beyond impressive and begin to border on hoarding.
Chris Paul is one of the most dynamic and magnetic players in the NBA. He's also one of the most stylish. He's appeared on the cover of GQ and the endorsement deals are beginning to pile up.
With so much success by the age of 27, a man needs a vice or an outlet to funnel some of that basketball moolah. For CP3, that obsession is sneakers.
Paul obviously has a deep-seated affinity for Michael Jordan and the whole Jumpman line. Where most prominent men would have rows upon rows of thick, leather-bound books, Paul has crazy amounts of Jordans.
It has clearly gotten somewhat out of hand, as the elegant shelves were abandoned and the vintage dresser requisitioned for a Jumpman display table.
It's unclear if Paul's wife Jada posted this picture of his shoe museum to brag about it or shame him into a semblance of moderation, but all sneaker junkies were driven insane with jealously (h/t USA Today).
Amazingly, Jarrett Jack has over 1,500 pairs of shoes (per the San Jose Mercury News). I'm no mathematician, but that's over 3,000 shoes. Those would fill my apartment to capacity.
Jack admitted his habit to George Kiel III of NiceKicks.com, “I own about 400-500 pairs of sneakers. I have a problem. Some dudes like jewelry, some dudes like cars, some dudes like whatever. I like sneakers."
OK, Jarrett J., you're right. You do have a problem. Owning 3,000 shoes is out of hand. And at least find an elegant way to store or display them!
Jack also exchanged some chatter on social media with his rapper friend Wale a couple of years back. Naturally, it was over who had the superior shoe collection.
Jack addressed this, and revealed Wale's secret advantage:
I’m going to tell you how Wale gets all of the exclusives early. He wears size 9. That’s the sample size. He’s rapping and doing his thing right now. Shoutout to Wale; he got his album out right now. Most of us wear 12s and 13s. Wale wears sample shoes. Those are 9s. You don’t know too many grown men that wear 9s. I’m not trying to be funny. But yeah, my man gets some exclusive stuff. But he can’t compete with me. He knows that.
So there you have it, shoe enthusiasts: The key to an encyclopedic sneaker collection is having slightly small feet. Start footbinding!
OK, Joe Johnson can't compare with Jarrett Jack's collection, but his custom-made shoe closet blows Jack's "line-them-all-up-in-a-spare-room" organization method out of the water.
And he's got the obligatory Scarface poster to boot.
The magazine Dime did a multi-page spread about Johnson's cache of kicks. And they weren't the only publication to break it down.
Johnson told Stacey Pressman of ESPN The Magazine about his shoe vault:
I wanted to display all of my shoes, so I had this 500-square-foot closet made. I just thought this would be a cool idea, and it would almost look like a museum. I had a fingerprint sensor put on the door to make sure I'm the only one who can get in here. I mostly wear Air Jordans. All of the Jordan guys are selected by Michael Jordan himself. It's kind of hard to tell MJ no. I have 436 pairs of sneakers in here, and they're mostly unworn. I'll wear all of them eventually.
Getting hand-selected to sport Jordan's Jordans is a high honor indeed. It's just too bad that Jordan selects his shoe endorsers about as well as he selects talent in the draft.
Joe Johnson is the classic very good player who is not worthy of a max contract. The Atlanta Hawks were all too happy to be rid of his contract to the Brooklyn Nets in the offseason, but it's all gravy for Joe.
He'll just keep adding to his Fortress of Shoe-itude.
Shumpert is something of a self-styled shoe connoisseur. He hosts and produces a video segment posted on his website and YouTube called "Sneaker Dose." Despite claims suggesting this is a weekly segment, it is not.
Yes, those shoes have actual plastic bones over the laces, because there's nothing like taking a style literally. Wow.
While he's only a second-year player, Shump's collection puts him at the top of the rising young sneakerheads in the league. He has so many pairs of sneakers, there just seem to be duffle bags lying around filled with hot styles.
You build from the ground up, and you have to know which sneakers will work with a blazer.
Stephen Jackson is not only a 13-year veteran of the NBA, he's also a rapper who goes by the name Stak 5. So you know he's got to have a trove of sweet sneakers.
Jackson only recently purchased his first house, and one of the central design elements was a full wall to fill with his shoe collection. Notably, he claims that his wife set up the shoe wall, probably just to keep all of his stuff confined to one area.
One of the nuggets that Jackson let drop was that he originally wore sneakers made by Al Harrington's company, but they were so poorly made he would have to change shoes every quarter (at the 1:55 mark).
He also netted his shoe deal from MJ himself after leading the Charlotte Bobcats to their first playoff appearance. Then Jackson had the admirable foresight to get out of Charlotte.
Stak 5 keeps it trill.
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