When it comes to hooping in rare and exclusive kicks, no one in the NBA holds it down harder than the Phoenix Suns’ P.J. Tucker. He regularly tops our #SoleWatch Power Rankings and has taken the overall top spot for the past two seasons.
“Nobody else is going crazy ever since Nick Young stopped,” Tucker tells Sole Collector. “Now he’s with Adidas so he just kinda chilled out on it. Tony Wroten is out and hasn’t played in a while–he used to have stuff. All the guys that used to really go at it, there aren’t a lot of them anymore.”
Potential challengers to Tucker’s crown may be few, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still obstacles to staying fresh on court. Sometimes the shoes themselves present the biggest hurdle.
“Man, I had some deadstock Ginger 16s–brand new, original box, original paper, everything,” Tucker laments. “I didn’t even warm up in ‘em because I wanted to make sure they didn’t rip. So after two or three plays, I get a rebound and take off to push the ball and the whole sole just comes right off. And you know how those are with the midsole, the little white part, it just crumbled and the whole thing came off. My teammates lost it.” [laughs]
Disaster stuck again just two weeks later when Tucker laced up one of his all-time favorite models, the Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2k4. “The same thing happened. I shot a shot and got fouled, and when my feet hit the ground the whole bottom came off.”
There’s no way to stop these vintage sneaker blowouts, but Tucker has taken measures to plan ahead for dealing with them. “Whenever I wear really old shoes, I have Jay [Gaspar, Suns’ equipment manager] have a pair on the sideline waiting for me so I can throw them on real quick."
On the plus side, at least Tucker’s affinity for playing in rare and vintage kicks hasn’t caused any issues with his sneaker sponsor, Nike. “They let me rock out. It’s a blessing. They really let me do my thing. I always hit my rep up when I get crazy stuff. It’s dope.”