Derrick Williams has turned his lifelong love for sneakers into a business venture in Tucson, Ariz.
Hang around Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams’ Target Center locker and something will strike you: The guy likes shoes.
Not just the fashionable leopard-print ones he wears to work, but the many basketball sneakers that cascade from his locker as if they were multiplying.
He likes them so much — and has for so long — that last month he and a friend opened a shoe/apparel store in Tucson, Ariz., called Grand VII Premium Sneakers and Streetwear.
He spoke recently about why he has turned his passion for collecting shoes into a business.
Q Why Tucson?
A I have a big fan base out there, and being from California, there are a lot of those shops in L.A., and when I got to school in Arizona, there weren’t any. I really felt it’d be a good investment and good for the kids out there. Instead of waiting for things in the mail, they can go to my shop right down the street.
Q Why a clothing/shoe store as one of your first big investments?
A I’ve always wanted to do that type of store. I’m into things like that. I collect shoes. I feel like it’s a good spot, and maybe open one more in California.
Q Remember the first pair you bought?
A With my money? Or should I say my mom’s money? Probably the Tracy McGrady 2001 or 2002 All-Star Kicks, adidas. They’re shiny blue. A lot of people who know shoes will know what I’m talking about. I think they were like $125.
Q Did you really save up your school lunch money to buy shoes?
A I saved my mom’s money. She used to give me $5 a day to buy food, and sometimes I’d make my own food to save money so I eventually could buy me a few pairs of shoes.
Q Did she find out you were double-dipping?
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