by Chris O’Leary

Videogames were at the forefront of conversations at EA Sports’ NBA Live 09 camp last week in Vancouver, but it was pretty easy to get some of the featured athletes going about what they like to put on their feet, on and off the court.

The levels of sneaker-interest varied from player to player. Toronto Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani, for example, didn’t open up too much on what he likes. “These,” he said to me, sticking out his white on white Air Force 1’s when I asked him what his favorite shoe was. “I have many colors of the Air Force 1,” he said.

Memphis forward Rudy Gay, Portland’s do-it-all guard Brandon Roy and free-agent in limbo Andre Iguodala were the biggest heads of the lot, with Tony Parker having some love for Jordans. The best sneaker-related stuff from my day in Van-City is below. Read it, enjoy it, then think about your fav’s and tell everyone here about them in the comments section.

SLAM: What’s your all-time favorite sneaker?

Rudy Gay: I’d say the Jordan XI’s. I like the black and white. You can never find them. Same with the all black ones with the blue Jumpman, the Space Jam.

Brandon Roy: It’d have to be one of the Jordans, like the III’s, or the XI’s.

Andre Iguodala: I like Air Force 1’s, Dunks, Blazers and Jordans.

Tony Parker: I liked the Jordans from 87 (the III) and from 91 (the VII).

SLAM: Is there one shoe that sticks out in your mind from when you were growing up?

RG: I’d say the Penny’s, the Foamposites, the blue and black ones. I remember growing up I wanted them so bad, but my mother couldn’t afford them. As soon as I got a chance I got them.

AI: I have some of the Jordan XI’s that I didn’t have as a kid. I still have the high school shoes that I played my State Championship game in, still got shoes from college, still got my first pair of NBA game-worn shoes. They’re Huarache 2K4’s.

BR: I think when the III’s came out as a retro (in 1999), I wore those things out. First I tried to keep them to the side, but then I started playing basketball in them and I beat those things down. But they were the most comfortable shoes ever.

SLAM: What was it like for you the first time you started getting free stuff from Nike?

RG: I went to Portland to the base so they were just giving me stuff. I had a chance to go to the store and I was like, ‘Wow, this is what it’s like.’

AI: It’s cool, but (when I was) playing at Arizona and being Nike affiliated, we had a lot of Nike products, so you kind of get groomed in college a little bit. Not to the extent where you get to the league and you get whatever you want. It’s kind of funny, now I’m just used to not paying for certain stuff and I just go and pick out what I want and my car gets filled with clothes and bags that I haven’t opened yet.

SLAM: What’s your collection like?

AI: I got all my shoes from the (past four) seasons. I’ve got shoes autographed from other players, I’ve got pairs of Air Force 1’s that I’ve never worn. I’ve got the Playstation Air Force 1’s, the Black History month Air Force 1’s still in the box never worn. I’ve got shoes for days.