Most NBA players are big sneakerheads, and they'll use their connections and money to get their hands on dozens, if not hundreds, of limited-edition specialized kicks.
The bidding can be fast and furious, and most of the time buyers don't know who they're competing against. But that isn't the case for two particular Timberwolves.
Kyle Anderson and Naz Reid both wear size 15. Both love to amass large collections of shoes that they keep in different parts of the country. Both are from New Jersey, and know a lot of the same people in the sneaker world. So when one misses out on a pair he really wanted, he knows who might have gotten them instead.
"I asked a guy for a pair of shoes and he was like, 'Naz got his hands on them,'" Anderson said. "Same thing with him. I may beat him to the punch."
Added Reid: "Whoever gets them first, gets them first."
Anderson said the two realized they were in this friendly competition with each other — they find out about shoes on apps, from private sellers or any way they can — just before Anderson began his first training camp with the Wolves in the summer of 2022. The size of their feet is one reason for it. There aren't a lot of people looking for size 15 shoes, and as a result there aren't a lot of pairs that get manufactured in that size. Both will do their research on what shoes might become available somewhere, in some part of the world.
"They could have like the most rare Kobes from like 2015 or whatever the case may be, and we're trying to get them first," Reid said. "... He was on a different team, so we weren't communicating as much about it. It's funny to see he's into shoes as much as I am and how in-depth it goes."
Shoes upon shoes
Both of their collections have a lot of depth to them. Anderson said he has around 300 pairs. About half are with him in Minnesota, some in New Jersey and some in storage. Reid has between 250 and 300, he said, and the same setup as Anderson — some are in Minnesota, some are in New Jersey and some are in storage. Before they go after a certain shoe, they don't really communicate with each other about if they want it. In a way, they could be tipping their hand, but they'll soon find out if the other was interested.
"We really don't tell each other what we're going after with certain things," Anderson said. "And then a third party will be like, 'Oh, Naz already asked for those.' "
Anderson, 30, said as he has gotten older he isn't as obsessed with acquiring shoes as he once was. At a given time, he is researching two or three pairs of shoes he might like. Reid, 24, said he was looking at six or seven.
"He always says that I should get a YouTube channel just because of how many shoes I have, how I talk about the shoe, the comfort in the shoe," Reid said. "I might as well get a YouTube channel. I might get free shoes."
The competition does yield a benefit for each of them. If they lose out on a shoe to the other, there's a chance they could buy it from each other at a discount, or they might just give each other the shoe.
For instance, that pair of purple Kobes Reid wanted from 2015? Anderson really wanted them as well, but Reid got them. After a while, Reid gave them to Anderson. That's happened a lot between the two.
"If it's something that's super rare, we both understand we have to sell it to each other, but other than that we might just give it to each other," Reid said.
The untradeable shoe
There's one pair of shoes Reid has been trying to pry from Anderson for months, but Anderson won't budge: a pair of Fragment Air Jordan 1s. Of course they are size 15: even more rare than usual.
"Those are the only 15 I've ever seen in those," Reid said. "I've never seen another 15 in those. I told him when he's ready to sell, let me know. He said he'll probably never sell."
That's what Anderson said. After a recent practice, Reid was still telling Anderson how much he wanted those shoes.
"I came up on them like last January. I couldn't believe it," Anderson said. "I thought they were fake. I thought it was a scam. … I had been looking for those for years."
"He beat me to it," Reid said. "I didn't even notice."
Anderson said he wore the shoes one time, and Reid was beside himself when he saw them in person.
"If I get my hands on those, I'm not giving them back," Reid said.
Maybe one day Anderson will loosen his grip on those shoes and sell them to Reid. Maybe one day there will be a pair Anderson wants as badly as Reid wants those Jordans, and he can force a trade. They'll both keep hunting and likely will continue bumping into each other along the way.
"It's such a small world for us, especially for guys who deal with athletes," Anderson said. "He's always doing his homework, I'm always doing my homework."