Sneakers as we know them might not have existed without the entrepreneurial efforts of Bill Bowerman and others like him. Bowerman was a University of Oregon track coach who wanted to create shoes his runners could use on surfaces other than a track.
His sole design is still used on certain Nike running and training shoes. Bowerman went on to co-found Nike, a company that continues to push the boundaries on innovative sneaker design.
But sneakers wouldn’t have become a collectible item without a superstar to propel them into the spotlight. Before Michael Jordan stepped out on the basketball court in the first pair of Air Force 1s, basketball shoes were only thought of as functional. After Jordan, sneakers became both functional and fashionable.
The wide variety of shoes created during and since Jordan’s time have made sneaker collecting possible, while the hip-hop culture movement that took place around the same time turned the sneakers into status symbols that made collecting them worthwhile.
The following sneaker collectors—also famous for more than their shoes—have earned titles in our book as the biggest, most famous sneaker collectors of all time.
1. The Chicks with Kicks
These three sisters own the world’s largest collection of sneakers. Their parents were athletes and collected sneakers for 25 years before passing the tradition and entire collection to their daughters. The last count put the total number of sneakers at 6,000 pairs, but the sisters say it’s still going up.
2. The Game
Jayceon Terrell Taylor, known as The Game, is an American rapper and actor. He’s well-known among the West Coast hip-hop scene and is widely considered one of the main forces who made hip-hop popular again along the West Coast. He’s been cast in several motion pictures, but his influence in hip-hop is what got him the most attention and accolades.
3. Nick Cannon
Nick Cannon does just about everything. He’s an American actor, comedian, rapper, producer, writer, and director who has also hosted many popular television shows such as America’s Got Talent and The Masked Singer.
4. Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather made his career as a professional boxer. Now he is a professional boxing promoter. He won 15 major world titles during his stint as a boxer after which he retired with an undefeated record. ESPN ranked him as the best boxer in the last 25 years.
5. Nate Robinson
A 5’9” professional basketball player, Nate Robinson was the 21st pick of the 2005 NBA draft. He played college ball for the University of Washington and went on to play for the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, and Denver Nuggets, to name a few.
6. Ray Allen
Ray Allen played 18 seasons for the NBA. He played for the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, and Boston Celtics. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.
7. Jrue Holiday
Holiday played one season of college basketball with UCLA before he was drafted into the NBA by the Philadelphia 76ers as a first-round pick. He played for the 76ers for four seasons and was named an NBA All-Star in his fourth season.
Victor Cruz is a retired American football wide receiver who signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2010 after playing college football at UMass. He played in the XLVI Super Bowl when the Giants beat the Patriots.
9. Joe Haden
After playing college football with the University of Florida, Joe Haden was drafted by the Cleveland Browns as a first draft pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. He currently plays cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
10. Chris Brown
Chris Brown is a well-known singer and songwriter whose singles such as “Run It!” have peaked often on the Billboard Hot 100. He has released several albums and sold over 140 million records worldwide.
11. Chris Paul
Chris Paul is a current NBA player for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has won many awards, including the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, an NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, and two Olympic gold medals.
12. Jeremy Guthrie
Jeremy Guthrie played American professional baseball as a pitcher. He played for a number of the teams in the MLB such as the Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, and Kansas City Royals.
13. Andre Iguodala
Andre Iguodala plays professional basketball with the Miami Heat. He was named an NBA All-Star in 2012. He has won three national championships playing with the Golden State Warriors.
14. DJ Khaled
DJ Khaled, or Khaled Mohamed Khaled, is a famous American songwriter, record producer, and media personality. His albums achieved great popularity, especially after he opened up his own record label, We the Best Music Group.
15. CC Sabathia
Carston Charles Sabathia is a retired MLB pitcher who threw and hit left-handed. He played in 19 seasons of Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, and Milwaukee Brewers.
17. Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson, now retired, played college basketball with the Arkansas Razorbacks for two years before declaring for the 2001 NBA draft. He was drafted 10th overall by the Boston Celtics. Johnson played in 18 seasons of NBA and is a seven-time NBA All-Star.
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