San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan is one of the undisputed sneaker kings in the NBA, but he once made a critical shoe error when matched up with Kobe Bryant.
Sneakerhead culture is huge in the NBA, with some of the leaders of the pack being San Antonio Spurs forward DeMar DeRozan and Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker. With thousands of signature lines and rarities out there, collecting kicks has taken on a life of its own in the league.
While there a several shoe king candidates, there can be no argument as to who has the biggest collection of Kobes. As he’s previously discussed, DeMar felt inspired by Kobe Bryant before he even entered the league in 2009. That led to him collecting an expansive collection of his idol’s kicks to which no one can compare.
In a recent appearance on All the Smoke hosted by Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, DeMar was asked why he should hold the sneakerhead crown.
“One, I don’t show off my shoes,” replied DeRozan. “A lot of people show off their shoes and want to flex. Anybody can pull out four pairs of exclusives and say they got them all, but let’s see the whole thing — not just your closet.”
While he didn’t mention anyone by name, I’ve written about his closest collecting competitor in the past when I covered one of Tucker’s many Instagram Live sessions showing off his wide collection. In it, he talked about buying a house just for his shoe collection. DeRozan, however, appears to have that beat.
“I got a couple of closets in a couple of houses that are full of [Jordan] Ones,” said DeRozan. “And I got some storages. You don’t want this smoke when it comes to that.”
While he had quite a collection of Jordans and Kobes when he faced Bryant in his Toronto days, it was Vince Carter who talked him into making the wrong choice once, as DeMar recalled. “I remember I was playing against Vince and he said you’re not supposed to wear your opponent’s shoe,” said DeRozan.
“The next time I played Kobe, I wore some Jordans. Wrong f—-ing thing I should’ve did. As soon as I walked on the court, Kobe was like, ‘oh, that’s what we’re doing, motherf—–?’ And didn’t say anything to me the rest of the game.”
To add to Kobe’s legend even further, Bryant ended up hitting the game-winner in that showdown in front of the Toronto crowd. While that was a tough lesson learned for DeMar, some good came from the whole experience.
After the game, DeRozan says he caught up with Kobe, where the two discussed making DeMar one of the ambassadors for Kobe’s upcoming Team Mamba brand. You can hear the full story above, courtesy of SHOWTIME Basketball’s YouTube channel.