When it comes to sneakers, you won’t find anyone more calculated than P.J. Tucker. The Houston Rockets forward managed to bring 91 pairs of sneakers to Orlando for the NBA’s restart and the collection has already grown to 110.
“I packed the sneakers in all different ways. I had some sent [to the bubble] a few weeks before we even left,” says Tucker from the Grand Floridian on Disney’s campus. “I brought down a bunch of different shoe bags, boxes and just all types of different things. In the bubble, I get them shipped to my place—my assistant just takes them all out and puts them in one big box and sends them to me.”
Tucker recently partnered with eBay to unveil his sneaker loft that is dedicated to his extensive sneaker collection, which is approaching 5,000 pairs. It was a relationship 15 years in the making, as Tucker used the site to shop and find some of his favorite sneaker grails. The loft will give an in-depth look at shoes inspired by his collection and fans can actually shop for new releases and rare kicks. Tucker says there was no inspiration behind the loft—he just needed more room to keep his wife happy.
“It's just about me having space and honestly keeping the shoes away from my wife's space,” says Tucker. “It doesn't really bother her until they are in spaces they shouldn't be. Like no one should have shoes on the table. When there are shoes everywhere, that is the only time she really gets mad, so this is just to eliminate her from cursing me out. So that was the inspiration.”
The origins of Tucker’s love for eBay started on the University of Texas campus when former teammate and current Knicks assistant coach, Royal Ivey would get shipments of sneakers to his dorm room.
“Royal loves sneakers as well and he would be on eBay shopping. The only site I used to visit was NikeTalk and I had never really bought shoes. I had no idea," Tucker says. "He started getting packages and I just saw the whole process. I was like, Oh wow, and I went and got my first ever bank card and ever since then, it has been on.”
Tucker, who re-signed a multiyear endorsement deal with Nike in November after a popular free agency period, opened the NBA restart by wearing a pair of Fear of God 1 PE’s that he nicknamed “The Air Tuck."
“I pretty much showed a lot of the stuff I brought but I still have a few surprises people don’t expect me to pull out while I’m here," he says. "But a lot of my PE’s are going to be worn. I plan on wearing all of them.”
Who are the best signature sneaker prospects in the NBA bubble?
Outside the bubble there have been rumblings that Trae Young will be the next player up for a signature sneaker. The Atlanta Hawks star teased an upcoming shoe back in March and is one of Adidas’s most prized assets. Young will join Donovan Mitchell, James Harden, Damian Lillard and Derrick Rose on the three-striped signature shoe family. Joel Embiid and Under Armour announced his signature shoe in January. but the brand still hasn’t released official images of the Embiid 1. But what about the guys in the bubble? Does anyone actually have a chance at a signature shoe in the future? Here is a list of of some candidates who could be next.
Morant has become a favorite in the Nike stable. Thanks to his electrifying game, he has already been pegged to be the face of two of Nike’s new basketball models this season: Nike Adapt BB 2.0 and the Nike Air Zoom BB NXT.
Jordan Brand trio: Zion Williamson, Luka Donic and Jayson Tatum
You can make the argument that all three of these guys would be easy selections for a signature sneaker at any other brand. But it remains to be seen what is Jordan's plan for each of them going forward. Williamson is a sneaker brands dream—he’s marketable, has video-game-like abilities on the court and a huge social media following. Doncic has international appeal and has become a fan favorite in the NBA. Tatum is among the most popular players in the league and kids seem to really gravitate towards him.
It is time for the WNBA to have a new signature sneaker star. The league is full of some of the best sneakerheads and it’s a shame that there is not one single player that has a shoe to call her own. Sabrina Ionescu has already shown the world that she can play with the best of them and plays for a big market with the Liberty. Nike, do what's right!
New sneakers in the bubble
LeBron has teased his latest signature model in the bubble. We have seen wear multiple colorways. The LeBron line continues with its innovative knit construction that was seen in the 15, 16 and 17. The sneaker will be released in September.
Zoom Freak 2
Giannis Antetokounmpo debuted the Nike Zoom Freak 2 once players arrived in the bubble. The sneaker is Giannis’s most personal shoe yet. His brothers Thanasis ,Kostas and Alex all had input in the design. The shoe connects back to Giannis’s roots in Nigeria and you can find nods to their parents Charles and Veronica.
Converse All Star BB Evo
Converse marked its return to basketball last year with the All Star Pro BB and made its next step in the process by unveiling the All Star BB Evo. The brand has done a good job in grabbing players that showcase a lot of self-expression in various ways such as art and fashion with Kelly Oubre Jr., Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Draymond Green and Natasha Cloud.
Don Issue 2
Donovan Mitchell has been wearing his latest signature model, the Adidas D.O.N. Issue 2.
Puma unveiled rapper J. Cole’s first signature basketball sneaker: The RS-Dreamer
The RS-Dreamer has been worn on the court by PUMA athletes Kyle Kuzma and Skylar Diggins. Cole spoke about the inspiration behind the shoe in a release by Puma:
“Over the years, basketball shoes have progressed greatly in their level of technology and comfort but have strayed too far away from designs stylish enough for cultural relevancy. The Dreamer hopes to change that reality. The highest level of on-court performance meets the highest level of aesthetic design for daily wear. Once again, you can hoop in the same shoes you wore outside.”
More Sneaker News
Michael Jordan hasn’t played a game in almost 20 years but his brand is still one of the most profitable businesses at Nike. Jordan has a strong group of endorsers in the NBA bubble with Zion Williamson, Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul.
On top of collabs with Travis Scott, Off-White and Dior—the brand also announced that the Jumpman logo will appear on all 30 NBA Statement Edition uniforms beginning with the 2020-21 NBA season.
But most importantly, Jordan announced in June that they committed to donate $100 million over 10 years to directly impact the fight against systemic racism.