The next person to accuse Antonio Brown of being boring will be the first.
Not only is the Pittsburgh Steeler known for trying out increasingly ridiculous haircuts, he names them, too. And not only is the 5-10 wide receiver known for rolling to training camp practice in style, sometimes he’ll show up in a black and yellow signature Rolls-Royce custom Phantom. For all of his skill–and Brown has a lot of it, having gone for 239 catches and 21 touchdowns over the last two years (through 13 games right now, he has 100 and seven)–the Miamian recognizes that what happens on the field is only half of the battle.
[RELATED: Watch Ep. 11 of The Drop with Antonio Brown]
On set at the Mall of America for his latest commercial with Champs Sports, we caught up with Brown to talk about his personal style, his favorite haircut nicknames, and why he has such a connection with fellow Miamian DJ Khaled (who, by the way, has his own extensive sneaker collection).
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Talk a little about your relationship with Khaled, like how’d that come about and how’d you meet?
Well I met Khaled in college, one of my close friends knew him really well. [When] I started my NFL career, I signed with my agent literally at DJ Khaled’s studio. He’s always been inspiring, motivating just [by] the way he talks. The way his attitude is and the way he encourages friends is pretty unique.
You’ve become a little bit of a style icon over the last few years, talk a little bit about what that means to you. What is that like to have the kids looking up to you and how has that affected your mentality?
Well it’s always a good opportunity when you’re in a position of leadership, and you can do positive things that create excitement and fun for kids to look up to and follow. I take serious pride in that, and I try to lead by example, and do cool things that’s fun.
If you had to describe that style in one word what would it be?
One word to describe my style is unique. I want to be comfortable, confident, and do things that make me feel well.
On that note you’ve always been changing your hairstyle, today I heard it’s “The Sonic Boom.” Talk a little bit about your hairstyles, how do you come up with them, and what’s the naming process like?
You just have fun with it. Try to create moments that keep positive energy and keep you excited. Doing my hair today we had “Sonic Boom,” the hedgehog going down the middle, so we kept it pretty fun.
What about some of the other names and styles you created?
The Lego, really meaning let’s go. We’ve got the dinosaur, where we do the mohawk and chop it up…we like to have fun, man, you got to be creative and keep that excitement going.
There’s cold weather now or it’s getting there, right? So what’s ready for the holiday? What do you have in your closet that’s going to come out this season?
I got some scarves, my guy just got me some Nike hoodies. I love the camo sweats, the comfortable stuff that keeps you warm and keeps you still looking fresh in the winter.
Speaking of the holiday season, it’s a big time for kids to get sneakers. What was it like for you growing up? What were the shoes that you wanted to get? What was the hottest thing when you were a kid?
Obviously Air Force Ones. Jordans were always a hot topic because they’re always dropping every week, and everyone loves new. You got to have the latest and the newest shoes and make sure you keep them clean.
What about a best memory of you like opening up the presents under the Christmas tree?
Jordans on Christmas was always fun, especially when you get the Space Jams…opening up your gifts as a kid and remember getting the Space Jams right around Christmas…it’s always fun. Take a moment to open the rest of the presents once you get those new shoes.
You grew up in Florida weather. What are some essentials coming to Pittsburgh and that ice-cold weather?
Winter is a time to relax. You know the “fall back,” usually shorter days and longer nights, it starts to get dark around six o’clock. Just enjoy the peaceful time of the year. The grass is always moist by seven, you don’t have to call in the sprinklers…enjoy the fall weather.
How much black and yellow do you have in the closet? Be honest.
I got a lot of black and yellow. The Terrible Towel, the jerseys, a lot of players that [came] before me past and present, you got to keep black and gold in your closet.
You come back and forth from the gym all the time. What are the Nike Tech Fleeces like and what stands out about them?
The Nike Tech Fleece is really comfortable. It’s all about comfort, you want to be walking and feeling good on your toes. And you want to transition from the gym, to the practice field, to the meetings, to walkthrough to practice, and you have to take care of your feet. If you take care of your feet, your feet will take care of you.
It’s true, and they’re extremely comfortable. Where do you start an outfit? Do you start at the shoes and work your way up?
I usually start at the pants and work my way up. I think if you have a nice pair of pants, or sweats or whatever, you could put something together and make it coordinate and be pretty fly.
Talk to me a little bit about the Hypervenom 2. What excites you about those?
I think just the comfort of walking in ‘em; the flexibility of the sole allowing you to rise up on your toes, and being able to walk from heel to toe. I think it’s totally comfortable and provides great [stability] in the shoe.
What’s in your rotation right now, anything that you dreamed about as a kid that you finally got?
I can’t recall too much, I’m just thankful for everything I have now. It’s all a blessing to have nice, comfortable stuff.
Any particular shoe in your rotation that you’ve been wearing?
I enjoy the Roshes, man, they’re really comfortable. A nice sole to where you don’t have to put that much pressure on the bottom of your feet, so you kind of store your feet while you’re still getting a comfortable shoe.
As far as the team, what are you guys looking forward to most the rest of the way?
We got to get things on the positive side. The first two quarters of the year we’re 4-4 [Eds. note: At the time of this interview], we’re midway with two quarters left in the season. We’ve got to find a way to get better every week, not make excuses, not minimize our role, not complain…we’ve got to find a way to continue to get better and continue to find a way to win games.
Last question, which nickname is better: Rod Tidwell or Boney Tony?
Probably Boney Tony.
Well it was a high school name I had, my high school coach actually gave it to me. Stuck with me for a long time; I used to be really slim, skinny fit, and Rod Tidwell was just something Hines Ward made up from a couple touchdown dances.
image via Paula Lively/Flickr Creative Commons