Collectors' Items

Life is more than playing games for these dunker-gatherers
May 15, 2006

Since he started collecting radio-controlled cars in his rookie year of 1996--97, Pistons center Ben Wallace has amassed 120 of them. He assembles each car himself. "It helps me relax," says Wallace, 31, the four-time Defensive Player of the Year. "You can't have any distractions. It's a nice way to unwind, especially during the playoffs." The cars go for up to $1,000 each and are as long as two feet. Wallace often races them against other hobbyists at a track in Richmond near his off-season home and also revs up against his three-year-old son, Bryce (left), and kids in the neighborhood. "They all come out and play with me," says Wallace. "We get in my driveway and go around a little bit. I always win."

Shareef Abdur-Rahim's autograph collection includes a Michael Jordan jersey from 1998 (he got the signature himself) and signed photos of Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali, Walter Payton and his favorite, Jim Brown (above), a gift from his wife, Delicia. Contributions from other family members help the Kings forward add to his pieces, many of which hang on the walls of his Atlanta house. Atop his wish list? "A signed picture of Arthur Ashe," he says.

Dwyane Wade is the Imelda Marcos of the NBA; the Heat guard has about 1,000 pairs of shoes. He stores 100 pairs in a closet and keeps the rest in the garage. "My wife [Siohvaughn] thinks I have a problem," he says. Wade prizes the many Air Jordans in a collection that he began about five years ago. "I try to keep it to a minimum," he says of his footwear haul. "You don't want to clutter the house too much."