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Sneaker News NINE@NINE: Sneaker Fanatics In 9 Professional Sports

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“Big news” broke in the sneaker world today, as Kansas City Royals star pitcher Jeremy Guthrie announced his “retirement” from the sneaker game. Via a video press conference, Guthrie declared he no longer has the will continue sneaker collecting, and won’t be buying any more shoes. In light of these developments, we got to thinking about the other notable baseball player sneakerheads that can now take over in Guthrie’s absence, much like how Scottie Pippen took over the reigns for the Bulls during Michael Jordan’s retirement.

But then we decided to expand beyond baseball, for this edition of the Sneaker News NINE@NINE to showcase notable sneakerheads from nine different sports past and present. The sports world may have lost Jeremy Guthrie today, but as you’ll see on the following pages, there are plenty of worthy sneaker aficionados worth your attention from every sport from basketball to football to…hockey?! Continue on for a look at the sneaker connoisseurs representing all nine sports.

BASKETBALL

Basketball is obviously the sport most closely associated to the sneaker world, so it’s only natural that there would be a few sneaker collectors in the NBA. Even though Michael Jordan is the godfather of the modern sneaker culture thanks to his Air Jordan line, most would never consider him a sneakerhead. It wasn’t until the next generation came up that we really started seeing sneaker collectors in the NBA, with guys like Gilbert Arenas, and more currently, Nate Robinson, Nick Young, and Ty Lawson just to name a few.

PRO WRESTLING

OK, so maybe it’s not a real sport as much as a soap opera for men, but there have actually been a few notable sneaker heads in the wide world of wrestling. Hulk Hogan has been on a major tear of Jordan collecting within the last couple of years, and if you’re familiar with wrestling a few years back, you know ring personality Stacy Keibler has rocked some Jordans in her day. More recently, Batista is regularly spotted in high-top performance models like the Air Jordan XX8 and Kobe 9 Elite.

FOOTBALL

The NFL is also filled with footwear fanatics, with names like Victor Cruz leading the charge for sneakerheads on the gridiron. Joe Haden of the Browns might have a better overall collection, though, while Marcus Gilchrist’s Air Max LeBron VII “Hardwood Classic” PE shows us that he’s not only about the latest releases.

BASEBALL

Now that Jeremy Guthrie has retired, other baseballers like Shane Victorino, Pedro Alvarez, and Gio Gonzalez will hold it down for the sport with their impressive collections. Victorino is killing the custom game, while Alvarez has a low-key collection of vintage Jordans and PEs, and Jordan Brand athlete Gonzales makes us all envious with his steady flow of J’s.

TENNIS

Even though one of the greatest sneaker lines ever comes from the sport of tennis with Andre Agassi’s Tech Challenge line, the sport itself is not usually known for any of its stars collecting shoes. We don’t know how deep his collection actually goes, but Roger Federer seems to be privy to sneaker collecting. Not only has he been spotted in both colorways of the Nike Air Yeezy 2, he also made the Air Jordan 3 editions of his Zoom Vapor Tour 9 happen. He’s definitely got our sneaker respect.

GOLF

The world of golf certainly isn’t known for its sneaker prevalence, but we came up with at least one good example of a sneakerhead golfer. Not only is he an official Jordan Brand athlete, but Keegan Bradley has definitely shown his sneaker knowledge with exclusive cleated golf shoe versions of both new and retro Jordan models like the Air Jordan 12. He was also spotted on the cover of Golf Digest in the Air Jordan 3.

SKATEBOARDING

Every skateboarder has gone through a countless number of shoes in his lifetime, but few care enough to keep their kicks or concentrate on building a separate collection of non skate shoes. However, one of the world’s greatest skateboarders also happens to be the skate world’s biggest shoe collector. We’re talking about Eric Koston, of course, who in addition to having one of the best signature skate shoe lines ever with éS and now Nike SB also has an impressive collection of the usual sneakerhead favorites like Jordans and runners.

HOCKEY

If you thought golf was a sport far from the sneaker world, it gets even worse with hockey. After extensive online research, we could only hunt down one pro hockey player with any link to sneaker collecting: Joel Ward of the Washington Capitals, who stunted his Air Jordan 10 Retro “Bobcats” and Ewing 33 Hi’s on his Twitter. He shoots, he scores.

RUNNING

A beast on the track, Allyson Felix also has an impressive sneaker collection, and is the running world’s most notable sneaker head. While there are probably tons of runners that collect their own running shoes and/or classic models, running is a unique sport in that its athletes don’t usually get that household name recognition. Therefore, it’s hard to say what other professional runners out there may be collecting. Also, a special shoutout to famous fictional runner Forrest Gump, whose Nike Air Cortez colorway is re-releasing later this month.