It isn’t that Indiana is where Jeff Teague’s sneaker collection goes to die. No, he’ll chuckle at that suggestion, but he will admit that if a pair of his collection is sent to his family’s house in Indiana, it doesn’t have much chance of making it back to his display closet in Atlanta.
As the Atlanta Hawks All-Star guard works his way through the playoffs, he does so with an array of sneakers to don for fashion, training, or on the court—and a number of destinations from which to pull them.
In Atlanta, Teague has a special shoe closet to keep the most prized of his collection, with all of his current favorites on display. But he routinely takes stock of that collection.
“Every year I swap out my closet,” he tells SI.com. “When I get new sneakers I send (the old ones) back to Indiana and start fresh in Atlanta with whatever is new.”
So, Teague later admits, Indiana is “pretty much” where his sneakers go to die, though only from the upper echelon of the Jeff Teague collection. In Indiana, he still has a display.
And that suits his family just fine. By keeping a solid number of sneakers in Indiana, he lets his father and two brothers—Marquis Teague has also played in the NBA—enjoy the fruit of his collecting. He just doesn’t want them overstepping their bounds. Years before his NBA days, Teague once found out his brother was wearing his collection during high school games. “I was upset about that,” Jeff says.
Teague, who wears a size 12, doesn’t often let his sneakers get away from him, unless his younger brother comes to Atlanta and some of his “really, really nice shoes” find their way onto a family member’s feet.
There, Teague has an in-home area set aside for the display of his shoes—he has most of them set out, not one to keep them all locked away in boxes—but then another area in his bedroom for the sneakers he wears.
He started collecting in high school, when his coach got him into it. It grew—flourished, even—from there. The collection, though, hasn’t taken drastic turns over the years. “I like classic shoes,” he says. “Shoes that are never going to go out of style. I got a little bit of everything, basketball sneakers, fashion sneakers.”
Well, call it a lot of everything. Combining the Atlanta and Indiana collections, Teague says his “really fresh” collection runs in the thousands. “I don’t really count them no more,” he says.
Recently, though, the Jeff Teague sneaker collection has taken a twist. Teague hasn’t built up his collection of fashion sneakers nearly as much as his basketball side, but knows he has plenty of time, even if “it is a little more expensive.”
When Teague started in the league he played in Nike shoes, but has been with Adidas for the past two seasons, currently lacing up the Crazylight Boost 2014 in a red colorway. He says he likes different colorways, but lets Adidas pick out the ones he wears on court. At any given moment Teague will have about three pairs of in-game shoes broken in and ready to go, putting on “whatever one that feels right.”
When it comes time to pick out his favorite shoe in his collection, Teague opts for the Yeezy Boost, the Kanye West-designed shoe released by Adidas in February. The guard hoped to even wear it on the court this season.
“Yeah, I wanted to,” he says. “When I sprained my ankle, that put a hold on my plans.” But if Adidas brings out another color of the Yeezy, expect Teague to hit the hardwood—preseason or early next season—in the sneakers.
After all, the Yeezy Boost are one of only a few of Teague’s brand-new fashion sneakers that will stay in Atlanta for another season, he says. As for the rest, they’ll go on to live a new life in Indiana.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.
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