Some 2,500 pairs fill a 7,500-square-foot museum that is the life-long obsession of Jordan Michael Geller (no, I am not kidding).
"This (museum) is the story of my life, and Nike," says Geller, who recently opened it in Las Vegas after moving it from San Diego last year. He's one of scores of businesspeople who have transplanted as part of Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh's audacious plan to remake downtown Vegas. Hsieh has invested $350 million of his fortune to make it happen within a few years.
The shoes, with a special emphasis on basketball legend Michael Jordan, come in all themes.
There are sneakers based on superheroes (Superman, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four), beer (Tecate), animals (including a Panda version that came packaged in a cage), movies (Back to the Future), holidays (Cinco de Mayo, Halloween), retros, music (Van Halen), fallen heroes (Pee Wee Herman), the universe and Olympic Jordan models.
Perhaps the most bizarre pairs are sneakers splattered with paint in a paean to action artist Jackson Pollock.
The most expensive pair are Converse Jordans that Geller picked up for $7,100. His favorite pair? Game worn, signed Jordans. Geller amassed his jaw-dropping collection by shopping at Nike stores and assiduously searching the Internet for rarities.
You would think Nike would be among Geller's biggest admirers. Right?
Wrong. The shoe giant fired off a letter in May 2009, banning Geller from its stores with no reason for its decision. The letter is framed near his Michael Jordan exhibit. (Geller has not met Jordan.)
"I was crushed," says Geller, who forged along. Nike has since lifted the ban.
"You have to be a little crazy to do something like this," says Geller, a lawyer who has an MBA. "Life should be about fulfilling your dreams, and being passionate."
(Copyright © 2012 USA TODAY)