Jared Jeffries, now in his 11th NBA season, is averaging around nine minutes a game in his first year as a Trail Blazer. Despite a lack of playing time, Jeffries has played an important role both as a heady defender in the post and as a veteran voice in Portland's relatively inexperienced locker room.
And when Jeffries does play, he's often times doing so in a pair of Jordan's that you can't yet purchase. As the Trail Blazers' only Jordan Brand athlete, Jeffries gets the honor of being the only guy on the roster who gets to wear the most sought-after basketball shoes on the court, a perk of which he takes full advantage.
I recently sat down with Jeffries to discuss his long-running relationship with Brand Jordan, how he defines his personal style, squaring his love of fashion with his country boy roots, how he decides what sneakers he's going to wear for games, his shoe collection and which Jordan's are his all-time favorites.
How did you end up with Jordan Brand?
"I was actually drafted by Michael Jordan in Washington and was always wearing his shoes growing up. I had a Nike contract and I talked him into taking over my Nike contract, so I started wearing Jordan's my rookie year."
How much convincing did you have to do?
"Not much. He was a teammate of mine and part owner of the team. Me and him have always had a really good relationship, we've always been good friends so it was easy."
In general, how would you describe your style?
"Um … I would say hipster right now is my style. It varies but right now I'd definitely say hipster. I try to be fashion-forward, but I'm too tall."
I guess all jeans look like skinny jeans when you're 6-11.
How do your shoe choices reflect your style?
"I get so many pair of Jordan's. The Brand does such a good job of giving us a wide selection of shoes. I mean, I have every pair of Jordan's that have come out over the last 11 years. I have them all in a storage unit in Florida where I live (in the offseason) and I probably have 2,000 pair of shoes. I save them all. I love having shoes, I love wearing different Jordan's."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you grew up a country boy, didn't you?
"Yeah, real country."
So how do you square your country roots with being fashion-forward and loving sneakers?
"The fashion part, just living in New York. I love the fashion word there. I love the way they dress, accessories, stuff like that. But the shoes, Indiana is a basketball state and part of basketball is the shoes you wear. You always get caught up on whatever MJ wore in this game, what Reggie (Miller) wore in this game and you try to pattern after them wearing those shoes."
Do you remember the first time you got a pair of shoes you really wanted?
"Yeah, I got the David Robinson's, the Force's
, when they came out. I was probably 10 when I got my first pair of Jordan's. And all through high school I wore Jordan's. That's all I wore in high school was Jordan's. Every time a new pair of Jordan's came out, my mother would get them for me. So that was a big deal. Me being who I was in my hometown, the store would save them for me, so like on the Friday night game I would have the new Jordan's that came out."
What did your dad think about that?
"My mom never told my dad how much the shoes cost. If my dad had any idea how much those shoes cost, he would have killed us. So he didn't have much idea, but my mom always sacrificed and always got them for me because she knew it was important to me.
"My dad's the kind of guy like, obviously I get shoes and we wear similar sizes. He's a big guy, too. I'll give him shoes and I'll give him clothes, stuff like that, and he still wears the same shirt, same pants. He has a whole closet full of clothes with tags on them, shoes never taken out of the boxes. He's that kind of person; he doesn't want anything new. He's from the old school where you wear stuff until you can't wear it no more, then he brings out another pair of shoes."
Do you have a process when it comes to deciding what shoe you're going to wear on a particular night? I've noticed lately you've been wearing a lot of retro Jordan re-releases before they're available to purchase.
"Jordan Brand does a great job. They send us shoes and we have them a long time before they come out so we're able to wear them. They give us our shoes with our own logos on them, so they take care of us.
"Really, my thought process is whenever I have a national TV game, try to wear something different and not wear the same 'different' shoe all the time. When we were in New York, I wore the the 13s
. In Minnesota, I wore the original black and red 1s. In LA I wore the all red 1s
. So I always try to wear something different. Against OKC I wore the 5s
. So just always try to have something different."
I'm always surprised more guys don't change up more often. Do you wonder why that is?
Most guys on the Brand if you look at us, TV games, big games, playoffs, they do a great job. Other companies, they can't go as far back. The Brand really revolutionized style and shoes. Everyone wants to wear Jordan's."
Jared Jeffries' Top 5 Jordan's
1) Jordan 9: "Definitely the 9s. I love wearing the 9s. Wore those growing up. The gray 9's, I love those shoes. I wore those against the Heat
2) Jordan 1: "The 1s because of how they look and you can wear them with anything. It's not just basketball. You can wear them with any kind of outfit."
3) Jordan 13: "13s definitely. Love wearing those."
4) Jordan 23: "It's crazy, like the last year (Jordan) did Jordan's. I love those shoes. I wore those for a whole season. I had them in New York with my logo on them. I wore those for a whole season."
5) Jordan 7: "The 7s were like, the shoes that are comfortable. A lot of times (Jordan) shoes that were comfortable shoes that came out. Nike has a lot of shoes, but Jordan's, I've been wearing them for so long, they just the most comfortable."