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Air Jordan collection is more than an obsession

Thirty-five pairs of nearly unworn shoes sit neatly stacked in the closet of Loveland’s Brad Nye.

Each pair is in its original box, and each box reads almost exactly the same.

The size: 13.

The brand: Nike Air Jordan.

To some, it might appear to be nothing more than a whole lot of basketball sneakers.

But for Nye, his collection of the Air Jordans is a connection to his memories, his students and even the beginning of his marriage.

“It’s so much more to me than shoes,” the 33-year-old said.

And collecting the shoe series is a hobby that’s far more reaching than one might think.

“We’re called Jordan Heads,” Nye said. “It’s a pop culture phenomenon in some circles. It’s extremely popular.”

The first Air Jordan came out in 1985 air jordan 1, when the shoes broke the mold of conventional basketball sneakers and took the market by storm, Nye said.

With their black-and-white styling, paired with Michael Jordan — the superstar player who wore and endorsed them — the shoes quickly erupted into a cultural phenomenon.

Each year since, a new style is released in the series, which often causes a frenzy at stores by customers hoping to catch a glimpse of the new styling and colors, Nye said.

“The Jordan brand has always been cutting edge,” he said. “It’s the standard by which all other basketball shoes are measured.”

For Nye, who grew up in the ’80s, his passion for the shoes began when he saw Jordan, his favorite basketball player, wearing them.

Nye got his first pair soon after and proudly wore them when he played high school basketball.

During his time in school, while he was watching a girls basketball game, Nye caught sight of another student wearing the same style as he was.

“The first thing I remember of her is that she had on the same basketball shoes as I had,” he said.

Years later, that player he saw on the court became his wife, Rachel Nye.

“You could say the shoes helped start our marriage,” he said.

And it was Rachel who encouraged Nye to not only wear the shoes, but collect them, too.

Four years ago, she bought him a pair from the Retro series, which remakes the Air Jordans produced in years past.

“It got the itch going for me again,” Nye said.

Soon, he began searching for and buying other Air Jordans, using both online auctions and shoes stores to get them.

Nye became so interested in collecting the shoes, the Mountain View High School assistant principal even took a summer job at Footlocker shoe store to take advantage of its discount on the shoes.

It was there that Nye realized he was only a rookie in the Air Jordan collectors’ circle.

“People I met there blew me away,” he said.

While Nye had around 70 pairs collected at the time, other employees and customers had hundreds.


“It was interesting to see how big it had become,” he said.

Recently, after the birth of his second daughter, Nye has begun selling some of his collection.

However, the assistant principal continues to enjoy the shoes and wears a different pair to school each casual Friday.

For Nye, they are a great conversation starter between him and the students.

“It’s a neat way to connect with the kids,” said Nye, noting that some seek him out each week to see which ones he’s wearing. “It’s fun to have conversations with them about it.”

And Nye’s collection will probably live on — his young daughters at home are starting to catch the bug for the shoes, too.

His 7-month-old came home from the hospital in Air Jordans, and his older daughter, Mia, loves to wear her matching pair with Dad.

“Mia really enjoys wearing them with Brad,” Rachel Nye said.

“It’s a nice daddy/daughter bonding.”


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Air Jordan collection is more than an obsession