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Kings of Kicks

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Kings of Kicks

Get an inside look at how numerous Sacramento players have attained incredible shoe collections, as Thornton, Evans and more dish on their love of sneakers.

Marcus Thornton vividly remembers the first pair of sneakers he ever wanted.

Today, the Louisiana native boasts one of the largest shoe collections on the team.

“When the (Air) Jordan 7 ‘Raptors’ first came out in high school in 11th grade – I had to get them,” reminisces No. 23. “I had to get them so bad I (bought) them a half-size small! I only wore them for like a week because they started hurting my feet so badly.”

Over the years, the 6-foot-4 guard’s assortment of kicks has grown exponentially, especially after he signed with Nike.

“I guess when I was younger, I wasn’t able to afford all the expensive pairs of shoes, so that’s how I really got into it,” he says.

“Off the top of my head, (I have) probably 4,500 pairs, not including dress shoes. If I include dress shoes, (they would) probably (add another) 500 to 550,” he adds. “I love them all.”

Although Thornton won’t claim to have the biggest compilation on the Kings – bestowing that honor on DeMacus Cousins, Tyreke Evans or John Salmons – he admits he may be close.

“From this team,” he says. “I get that we all love shoes.”

Veteran Chuck Hayes discloses he typically opts for well-cushioned shoes rather than fashion trends.

“I have maybe 150 to 200 (total sneakers), but some of these guys have more shoes than I do,” he says. “They’re more into whatever the hot shoe is – I’m just more into whatever I like.”

The Kentucky product recollects the day he became an avid collector over eight years ago.

“The summer going into my senior year in college, I worked at Nike Camp in Indianapolis, and all the counselors had a bunch of Nike and Jordan gear and shoes and gave us a care package,” he says. “I went back to college, all my teammates were jealous, and I thought, ‘Ooh, this is nice.’

“I’ve always liked shoes – it’s just that I never had an opportunity to get them when I was growing up, but ever since then, I’ve had a shoe fetish.”

Evans, who says his sneaker collection is too vast for him to quantify, discloses he goes through an astonishing number of different pairs throughout the season.

“Probably 1,000 – I’m a big shoe guy,” says No. 13.

Despite his impressive collection, Thornton has a unique approach when it comes to discarding his game-day attire.

“I don’t care how old or how new they are – when I get them broken in right on the court when I’m playing, I just ride them out until they disintegrate,” says the Louisiana State product. “(I don’t go through) too many – probably like four or five pairs a year.”

Isaiah Thomas discloses his style of play frequently warrants grabbing a fresh pair of shoes off the rack.

“I go through a pair every few games – I cut a lot, and so every few games, the side of my left shoe will rip,” he says. “Probably every three or four games, I go through a new pair of shoes.”

The UW product, attaining more than 100 pairs to date, believes his first may have been original L.A. Gears with light-up soles. No. 22, who last year inked a deal with Reebok, says his favorite shoe is the Allen Iverson ‘Question,’ which Thomas will sport himself several times in 2012-13.

“It’s crazy I’m with Reebok now, because my first dunk was actually in a pair of Reeboks when I was going into my junior year – they were Reebok Pumps,” tells Thomas. “I felt like I first started dunking because of the pumps – I would pump them up and then get it done. That’s one of my most memorable moments.”

Tyler Honeycutt, who’s recently started collecting shoes, has held onto the now-faded first pair he ever wore.

“I actually still have them in my car – some Jordans from when I was little,” he says. “I don’t even know which Jordan it is, they look so old now.”

Sacramento newcomer Aaron Brooks – a self-proclaimed shoe fanatic – wore his favorite pair just once while achieving a significant collegiate milestone.

“I had some throwback Nike Uptempos that I wore my senior year in college when we beat UCLA,” he says. “They came out in ’97, but somehow I got a pair of them. I wore them that one game and I didn’t wear them again after that.”

Jimmer Fredette – who now gets his gameday kicks from Spalding and opts for dress shoes and flip-flops off the court – recalls his most cherished sneaker memory.

“I remember I had my first pair of custom-made shoes when I was a senior in high school,” he says with a chuckle. “I just put my number and my name on the back – I thought that was really cool and I was the man when I did that.”

For rookie Thomas Robinson – whose collection is already plentiful and includes various Jordan and classic Nike models, as well as a half-dozen dress shoes – one pair stands out as having special, sentimental significance.

“(On) Draft night at my Draft party, (I wore) Galaxy Foamposites,” he says.

No. 0, unlike many of his new teammates, doesn’t see reason to pick out a different pair of shoes depending on his outfit.

“The whole matching thing is overrated,” he says with a laugh. “You don’t have to match anymore as along as your shoes are right.”

Fredette, noting he prefers neutral colors, which can go with any ensemble, offers a mixed take on the subject.

“If you’re trying to dress up for an occasion, you should probably match the shoes, if you can,” says No. 7. “Black pretty much goes with anything and so does brown, but I don’t think most people care all that much.”

Thornton, however, has an entirely different approach when it comes to savvy style.

“You have to (match)! Especially if you’re trying to show off with these guys,” says No. 23. “You have to have a specific shoe to go with a certain shirt (and) a certain pair of pants and the whole outfit.”

Thomas’ line of sneakers purposefully includes various combinations of purple, white, black and gray, which he makes sure to match with Sacramento’s jersey color on a given night.

“Deion Sanders once said, ‘If you look good, you play good,’ so I took that to heart,” says the Kings point guard, referencing the NFL Hall of Famer. “I try to look good when I’m out there.”

Fan Take

Which current or former Kings player do you think sported the most memorable pair of sneakers?

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