Things ain’t like they used to be.
In 2005, freshmen at Springfield College weren’t allowed cars on campus. So when sophomore year hit for Ed Quinn, he hopped in a friend’s ride and hit the mall, the boutiques, the restaurants, all the places he missed during his first year away at school. It was the fall of 2006 and he was on a mission: Find out if he could get the Grape Air Jordan V. Two weeks later, he walked into a store at 10 a.m., the second in line, and copped one of the most hyped Air Jordan releases of the last 10 years.
It’s not 2006 anymore. Cats can’t be showing up at 10 a.m. for lifestyle releases anymore. But @eqkicks is still hoarding sneakers. With a collection that features around 120 Jordans, the 27-year-old thinks his obsession might actually be getting worse.
“It’s kind of out of control,” Quinn says. “I think the main reason why is just that I have space for them.”
That space will be gone soon if he has his way, stockpiling everything that he missed out on over the years. He nabbed the Flint XII recently. He got the red suede XX1 and the white/red XVII not long ago. But there’s one pair Quinn is still missing, and time might be running out for him. He wants the white and pink low-top XII, in part because “you can get some pink s— but it’s almost impossible to get some Jordans in pink.”
Back in college, Quinn was buying at least one pair of Jordans every month. When the Flint and Cardinal VIIs dropped on the same day he said he didn’t have the cake, then saw his boy buy a pair, said screw it, and copped his own. Even when he didn’t have money, he’d be there convincing his friends you gotta get those man, you gotta!
That obsession started early. He can still remember his youngest sneaker memory, in the fourth grade seeing someone else wearing the Cherry XII. Quinn wanted them. He wanted them bad. But at his Catholic school, the shoes had to be predominantly black and so the Cherry XII was out and the black/red Jumpman Pro was in. (He eventually saved up his birthday money and got the XII he wanted for $55.)
Not many in his family played basketball. Nobody watched it. Nobody cared. So when school years came around in September his parents were taking him to J.C. Penney or Macy’s for new sneakers.
“They wouldn’t bring me anywhere else because they knew I would want the expensive s— and they weren’t gonna buy it for me,” he says. “So I think not getting shoes is what really got me into it.”
Quinn didn’t even like Michael Jordan. His favorite player was Mike Bibby, the Jordan Brand point guard who became a star with the Sacramento Kings while combining with players like Eddie Jones, Michael Finley, and Randy Moss to keep Jordan’s line alive even with the G.O.A.T. retired. Quinn would watch Bibby and the Kings shred opposing defenses and all the while he’d be squinting and studying to see what was on his feet.
“I don’t think people realize how hard…you almost had to do research to see what somebody had on in the game before hi-def TV and the Internet with pictures of everything,” he says.
Eventually, though, he did ultimately discover what player exclusives Bibby was wearing and that strengthened his love for some of the line’s most underappreciated shoes and colorways.
“People say ‘I don’t mess with XIV and up,'” he says. “Like yo, a lot of that stuff, XVI, XVII, XVIII, and up, the quality and technology in it is awesome. Awesome basketball shoes. I think it’s funny that people don’t really like that stuff.”
In high school, Quinn didn’t play in all of his Jordans. He refused to play in the “Flu Game” Jordan XII, and the cool grey Jordan IV and IX, and wore the all-white low-top Jordan IX to school. But for the ones that he did play in, he got his money’s worth. The all-black Air Jordan XVII was the first pair that he dropped serious money on ($175), buying them in the summer after his freshman year so he could wear them the following basketball season. He wore them until the outsole was gone, until the side pieces where the laces went through were completely ripped off. That wasn’t it, either.
The copper Jordan XVII? “I wore those things right into the ground.”
The Jordan 18.5? “I wore those things until the bottoms of them literally came right off.”
He even wore the All-Star “Lightning” Jordan XVII for one game in high school. “Luckily I didn’t play much,” he laughs. But that pair was always special for him. Playing for Troy High School in upstate New York, Quinn’s school colors were yellow and purple, which made finding Jordans he could play in very difficult. Outside of traditional white and black colorways, there were almost no Js being released in the early 2000s that weren’t original colors. Quinn went to New York City with his parents the summer after seeing Jordan wear them in the 2002 NBA All-Star Game and spent the whole trip searching for them in every store he could find.
Eventually, he got lucky. When they showed up online in a size too small, he convinced his mother to order them anyway, saying he’d find a way to make it work even if his toes were squished. Yet when they showed up, sporting the “size 8″ on the box, he opened it up, tried them on, and they fit perfectly. In what he now calls one of the luckiest days of his life, he looked at the inner lining and discovered they were actually his size, a size 9. “I still can’t believe that happened,” he says.
Nowadays, Quinn has two rooms in his home completely filled with sneaker boxes, with some of the shoes acting like old, loyal friends. They grew up with him in high school, traveled with him to college, came home after he graduated, and now stick with him even as he nears 30 years old. With well over 4,000 followers, @eqkicks spends his days interacting on Instagram with sneakerheads who grew up in the same era he did.
He doesn’t have any major plans for his collection. Only small ones. He wants a pair of copper Jordan XVIIs to replace the ones he destroyed. And he’s still looking for those elusive pink Jordan XIIs.
“A lot of the stuff that makes me mad now is when I see something,” he says, “something that I really want, and I pass up on it, and then a week later it’s gone.”
Yep, things ain’t like they used to be.
Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney