When it comes to the sneaker game, it’s always the quieter guys you have to watch out for. More so in this day-and-age where social media has given everyone an opportunity to flaunt their stuff immediately. Don’t believe us? Check Instagram on release days. In this game, the guy that keeps it low-key is the generally the one with some serious heat in his closet.
For Minnesota’s Derrick Williams, it’s not about flaunting as much as it is immersing yourself a lifestyle. Sure, he may post a few photos on his Instagram (@dwillvii), but D.Will doesn’t get as much sneaker love as other guys in the League. He should though. You see, Williams has been into sneakers his whole life, and has also recently turned his passion into a business.
Starting5 caught up with D.Will to talk kicks, and we threw in a little basketball talk as well.
Starting5: First of all, how was your summer? What did you get up to?
Derrick Williams: It was good. I worked on my game a lot, just working on my overall game, not just being a scorer, [I’m] trying to rebound, trying to block shots. Just working on all parts of my game.
S5: Let’s talk sneakers for a minute. You were with Under Armour when you first came into the League, you’re with Nike now. How is that situation?
DW: It’s good. Both brands are awesome, man. My first year-and-a-half in the NBA I was with Under Armour and they’re a great company, I have nothing but good things to say about
them. I’m with Nike now, they’re both great companies.
S5: I understand you’ve recently opened up a sneaker boutique in Arizona. How did that come about?
DW: I’ve always been into shoes. Ever since I was a little kid and from Penny’s to Shaq’s, you know, any brand, Reebok and Nike, Asics. It don’t have to be basketball shoes, I like all types of shoes, man, and I’ve always wanted to open one [store]. Now I have the resources to do it, it’s been great.
S5: Is that somethng you’re setting yourself up for down the line when basketball is over? Obviously, that’s way down the line.
DW: Definitely. You know, I’ll start with smaller companies like a sneaker boutique. You have to get used to the business part of things, especially after basketball [is over], whatever it is after the last time I bounce the ball, I’ll be good. I’m trying to start small, with smaller business projects, and lead up to bigger things as well.
S5: You mentioned you’ve always been into shoes, how many pairs do you have in your collection?
DW: [Laughs]. Couple of hundred, man. I’d probably say about two or three hundred. I’ve heard other people who have six, seven hundred shoes, but I’m a little bit more picky about my shoes. I try and get the more rare types of shoes instead of [buying] in bulk and getting every single shoe that comes out. I’m really picky and [only] like specific shoes.
S5: Are we going to see you on the Internet showing off your collection anytime soon?
DW: [Laughs]. Yeah! There’s a few sneaker sites, NiceKicks.com, SoleCollector, I’m real good with those guys so I think this summer we’ll come out to my house and check it out.
S5: What was the first pair of kicks that you bought with your own money?
DW: With my own money? Let me see —-
S5: And, have you since gone back and bought that pair again?
DW: Yeah. The first pair of shoes that I bought were the Taxi’s. Low-top Taxi XII’s. I was about 6th grade when those came out and I finally had enough money, I had my mom take me to the store when they came out on release day. I’d say the low-top Taxi XII’s.
S5: It was certainly different back then, you could go into a store on release day and buy a pair. Now, shoes sell out in seconds it seems.
DW: Oh, man. Definitely hard to cop.
S5: What’s next for Derrick Williams? What are your goals for this season?
DW: I think this is the first time in a long time where everybody has been ready to get a lot of wins this season. In the past we weren’t sure how many wins we were going to get, but now everybody is all locked in and tuned in to the game. We want to win 50-games this season. I think we have the team and the talent to do that, most teams don’t have the talent, but we have the talent. We have the size, shooters, we have a little bit of everything. So, as long as we stay healthy we can make the playoffs.
S5: Has it been frustrating in the past knowing what the team has been capable of on paper, but not having everybody healthy?
DW: Yeah, the ball hasn’t fallen our way. The last two years we’ve had a lot of injuries. Countless injuries. Even last game Ronny [Turiaf] broke his arm, Chase [Budinger] is hurt, but those guys will be back within the next month or two and as long as the core group we have can stay healthy, I think we can make the playoffs. That’s our mindset.
S5: Thanks, Derrick. Good luck for the season.
DW: No problem.
Top photo: Derrick Williams wearing the Air Jordan XVII ‘White/College Blue-Black’ last season.
D.Will wearing the Nike Air Flight One ‘Galaxy’