Sneakers weren't always a big deal for Rakeem Christmas, but as his basketball career began to blossom, so did his sneaker collection. Once the Indiana Pacers forward got the chance to start upgrading his foot ware, he kept it up.
The 2015 second-round pick talked with The Crossover about how his interest in collecting quality sneakers came about, how he tries to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to getting new sneakers and what's the competition like inside the locker room when it comes to proving who has the best kicks.
SI: How did you start your sneaker collection?
Rakeem Christmas: I really started my sophomore year of high school, just being one of the top players in the country, Nike was always sending me stuff. And growing up in the Virgin Islands I never really had that many sneakers—it’s hard finding my size. So as the years go by, my sneakers started piling up more and more, and I really started getting into it and loving it more like that.
That started a big thing for me. And at Syracuse, going to a Nike school, you get a lot of sneakers there too. So the boxes was really piling up, and ever since then, I’ve just been collecting more and more and more.
SI: Do you have one official sneaker closet?
RC: No, I just have them spread out in all different places.
SI: What's your newest sneaker in the collection?
RC: I got some Goyard Vans. ... Just standing out is a big thing. I don’t like wearing the same thing a lot of people wear, so I have my guy in L.A. I know that whenever I need something done, I send a Van or something to him, and he puts a bunch of designer stuff on them, like Goyard and LV stuff and Gucci and MCM. For me, those are things I wear in the summertime a lot because it gets a lot of heads turning.
SI: What's the competition like in the locker room when it comes to proving who has the best shoes?
RC: With someone like Monta [Ellis], he’s with Jordan Brand, so you know Monta has all the crazy stuff that no one really sees and has. So he always comes in, him and Thaddeus Young. Thad is another sneakerhead on our team that always tries to one-up Monta. They definitely go at. They’re definitely up there on our team with sneakers.
SI: Is there anybody on the team who you look up to when it comes to sneaker collecting?
RC: C.J. Miles, he definitely has one of the biggest shoe collections on our team. He comes in with a bunch of different shoes. I mean, you can never guess what he’s going to wear one day. He comes in with some Supreme something, or he’ll just come in with Jordans, some old school, some new school. I mean, you never know with him.