Out For No. 1

by March 25, 2014


by Abe Schwadron

Tony Wroten doesn’t hesitate when asked to rank himself among NBA players with sneaker sense. “In the League? No. 1. It’s not even a question, 1.”

With an on-court résumé that would make rare Air collectors drool, the second-year Philadelphia 76ers guard is certainly stating his case this season. Having worn Pippens, Pennys, Foamposites, KDs, Spizikes, Uptempos and nearly every Air Jordan from III to XIX, Wroten is turning heads and turning up the comp for best kicks superlatives. (Dude wears his kicks until they explode—literally.)

“If I see the next person wearing something, I’m like, Man, he’s got shoe game, I’ve got to step my game up,” he says. “If I could, I would wear 82 different shoes.” He damn near has, wearing everything from the Space Jam Jordan XI to the Zoom Flight The Glove to the Squadron Blue Jordan XIII. But Wroten, a sneak freak since his AAU days, says it’s nothing new for him.

“Going to Washington, while a lot of people on the East Coast didn’t see it because they were asleep when we played at night, I was doing this back in college and high school,” explains the Seattle native. If you did stay up late, though, you saw the Huskies star break out mostly Barkleys and Jordans, like the He Got Game Jordan XIIIs.

After a tumultuous rookie season in Memphis, Wroten has settled into the Sixers’ rotation (13.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg and 2.8 apg in 24 mpg) and finally has a proper platform to showcase his collection. He scored 14 off the bench as the Sixers opened their ’13-14 season with a 114-110 upset at home against the two-time defending champs. On his feet that night? A one-of-a-kind pair of Air Jordan XII “Sixers” PEs designed by customs king Mache—Wroten’s favorite on-court sneaker so far this season.

A few days later, he laced up the Raging Bull Jordan Vs, which he counts among his top-five favorite Js of all time, along with the Cool Grey XIs, Playoff XIIs, Thunder IVs and all-red Jordan XXIs. That same month, he became the only player in history to record a triple-double in his first NBA start, wearing the AJ XI Silver Anniversary. “I’m a strong believer in, ‘If you look good, you play good,’” Wroten says before a December bout in Brooklyn, for which he’s procured a decade-old pair of the Nike Air Foamposite Pro Varsity Red. No disagreement here.

Check out a gallery of the best kicks from Wroten’s career above. Photos via Getty Images/@twroten8_loe.