Basketball shoes are far more than just things to wear on the court; they’re also potentially rare and valuable collectibles. It isn’t just fans who obsess over amassing a huge collection of shoes. Many players share the same fixation, including everybody from Chris Paul to J.R. Smith.
Most basketball insiders agree that the most shoe-obsessed player today is the Houston Rockets’ P.J. Tucker. He’s amassed a collection of nearly 5,000 pairs of basketball shoes. Let’s closer look at Tucker’s NBA career and a recent fine he picked up during the playoffs, which could hamper his shoe habit.
P.J. Tucker’s NBA career
The Toronto Raptors drafted Tucker with the 35th pick of the 2006 NBA Draft. He only played 17 games with the team that year, spending the rest of the time playing in what was then known as the D-League. In March, the Raptors waived Tucker in order to open a roster spot. Unbeknownst to him, Tucker wouldn’t sign with another NBA contract for five full years.
Instead, he spent those seasons playing in overseas leagues. In 2012, Tucker signed a deal with the Suns. By the midway point of the season, he had earned a spot as a full-time starter, averaging 6.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. Tucker ultimately spent four and a half seasons in Phoenix. He earned a reputation as a tenacious defender.
In the 2016-17 season, the Suns traded Tucker back to the Raptors for a package of players and picks. He finished out the season before signing a new contract with the Houston Rockets. Tucker’s defense coupled with his excellent three-point shooting — he has a career average of 36.1% –makes him a perfect element of the roster built around superstar James Harden.
Tucker’s unrivaled obsession with shoes
The numbers around Tucker’s shoe collecting habit are truly stunning. Most people won’t own anywhere close to 5,000 pairs of shoes in their entire life. For Tucker, however, that number is just the beginning. According to Tucker himself, he spent over $200,000 on sneakers during the course of the 2017-18 NBA season.
His shoe fetish was on full display during that season’s postseason, details The Undefeated. Tucker donned 22 different pairs of shoes during the Rockets’ 17-game playoff run. Look at those numbers again and you’ll realize that Tucker didn’t just wear a different pair for each game; he even switched out shoes at half-time on a few occasions.
Many people assumed that Tucker’s sneaker options would take a hit this postseason, with teams living away from home in the bubble. Yet Tucker still managed to bring a whopping 91 pairs of shoes to Orlando with him, reports Sports Illustrated. Since then, he’s already added 19 new pairs to the collection, bringing his bubble grand total up to at least 110 pairs.
An altercation hits Tucker where it hurts
The Rockets had one of the toughest first-round match-ups in the entire league, finding themselves squaring off against a surprisingly talented Oklahoma City Thunder team. Although the Rockets ultimately prevailed, the series contained plenty of drama.
Things spilled over during Game 5, when Tucker got into an altercation with Thunder guard Dennis Schroder. Tucker felt that Schroder hit him below the belt and angrily approached Schroder from behind. In the process, Tucker head-butted the back of Schroder’s head. Both players were thrown out of the game and subsequently fined by the league.
Tucker’s fine cost him a cool $25,000, reports Sneaker Freaker. He didn’t seem too worried about the loss of income, however — except as it would affect his shoe-buying budget. In an Instagram story, Tucker wrote, “Guess I won’t be getting any shoes for a while…” Those who know Tucker got the joke. He’s probably not one to let even a hefty fine like that get in the way of his biggest obsession.