BROOKLYN, N.Y. — When Chad Jones was a kid, his mom used to poke fun at him for his fascination with basketball sneakers. Little did she know that all these years later her son would wind up with more than 1,000 pairs of sneakers and an amazing story to go with it.
Growing up in Brooklyn, Jones was all about sneakers and the culture that surrounded them. What fueled Chad's desire to build a collection of exotic kicks over the years? Maybe it was the fact that Michael Jordan and Jones were both from BK—MJ is Jones' favorite player.
Or maybe it was his very own basketball roots.
Having Brooklyn as his very own backdrop, Jones was able to play ball in New York City with the likes of Tracy McGrady, Jamaal Tinsley and Stephon Marbury. A talented player in his own right, the 36-year-old sneakerhead's skills led him to a full scholarship to play at Dominican College in 1998.
Jones spent his youth, adolescence and adulthood building a collection that would ultimately win him praise within the sneaker community, awards nationwide and cash prizes along the way. But that love for kicks almost ended tragically three years ago.
Waiting in line for the chance to land a pair of Kobe Bryant's coveted Kobe 7s "Black History Month" editions, Jones was stabbed multiple times. The injuries he sustained almost cost him his life. To this day he's still undergoing procedures related to that horrific incident.
Since then, Chad has been determined to gather shoes in a safer way, while never giving up on his lifelong passion.
Unlike a lot of collectors these days, Jones doesn't just buy every "popular" shoe that touches the marketplace. Instead, he has to appreciate the player behind the shoes, not the shoes behind the player.
"I don't know about Kyrie Irving's signature shoe just yet," Jones mentioned to me. "He's a great player, but he plays a bit out of control at times."
That type of meticulous thinking is one of the reason's his collection is so special. It's not just fluff; every shoe has meaning behind it.
All-Star Weekend's return to New York City is big for the man they call "Sneaker Galactus." It's been 17 long years since the city was blessed with the NBA and its flock of top talent.
Now with Brooklyn also playing home to local events and even the NBA's All-Star Saturday program, the borough that basketball forgot about nearly 20 years ago is finally alive and kicking.
Jones' mission this weekend was to provide fans with a taste of his very own All-Star Weekend collection.
You'll see current NBA stars like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Tony Parker's kicks on display. But it doesn't stop there. Legends like Penny Hardaway, Dominique Wilkins and even WNBA savant Swinn Cash will have stuff showcased as well.
As you scan through all of sneakers he's brought along with him, it's easy to see why Jones' assortment of kicks plays out like a tremendous history lesson dedicated to on-court apparel.
Hosted at 138 South Oxford street in Brooklyn—right around the corner from the Barclays Center—sneaker enthusiasts and basketball fans alike shuffled into the venue to catch a glimpse of Jones' All-Star shoes. Mostly everything he revealed is stuff you can't buy anymore—unless you're willing to dish out briefcases stuffed full of loot.
What this event really represents is more than just shoes. It's a testament to an individual's love for the game of basketball and the city that nurtured him. For a guy who has seen it all, Chad Jones remains soft-spoken, humble and one of the most interesting people you'll meet.
As he pays tribute to Brooklyn and All-Star Weekend, let's pay tribute to him and all of the other basketball junkies out there who make this game special.
Follow Chad on Instagram: @Sneaker_Galactus