For anyone out there who really thinks they have the juice when it comes to rocking heat on the hardwood, we’ve got four words for ya: Sit down, be humble. Representing the Left Coast and doing right by the culture, Patrick Christopher is here to shut down March Madness Memories.
Lacing up OGs and retros during his time at Jordan Brand-endorsed Cal from 2006-10, his time of play spanned the transition from the NikeTalk generation to that of the blog bloom, with a collection of self-made customs and Kobe rarities that cater to both crowds. Take a seat and a deep breath before digesting perhaps the greatest College KOC resume that ever was.
Patrick Christopher: “The Jordan Brand sponsorship definitely played a big factor in choosing Cal. My dream school was North Carolina, because I loved Michael Jordan like everybody else. But I ended up choosing Cal with my mom, because she’s big on academics and she really pushed it. I ended up committing to Cal very early and didn’t get to enjoy the whole recruiting process. I took one visit to Texas, where Kevin Durant ended up going that year. 6th Street was boomin! Tayshaun Prince was actually my next door neighbor [growing up], so I always wanted to go to Kentucky, too. UCLA was right in my backyard being a Compton kid, too.”
Air Jordan 1
Patrick Christopher: “Whenever I played, I was just trying to capitalize on colorways and match with jerseys. I tried to do it at the highest level and that’s been a big deal for me since my high school career. I loved playing in the “New Love” 1s. Every level of basketball, I played in some 1s. I even did a stint in the AJKOs in the D League. They didn’t match, but I wore them. My theory is, if Mike did it, and if he had 63 in the Boston Garden in them, then who am I to say it’s impossible? I mean, I’m not Jordan, but he did it! Well, technically I guess he did break his foot in the 1s….[Laughs]”
Air Jordan 2
Patrick Christopher: “I put my own yellow laces in there quite a bit my sophomore year. I also wore the Nu Retro 2s that Fred Jones won the Dunk Contest in. Nick DePaula said not to put the Nu Retro pairs in this, but hey, I did it!”
Air Jordan 3
Patrick Christopher: “Those are biscuits now, I beat them up. Surprisingly those are the only 3s I wore because the 3 is my favorite Jordan. In high school, I had the ’01 Black/Cement Retros and wore them against OJ Mayo. I played against KD in those, too, and had like 46 points in New Orleans. He was on the DC Blue Devils and I was on California Elite — that tournament put me on the map. Kevin Love was there, Blake Griffin, Ty Lawson, and a lot of dudes that are in the league now. I averaged like 37 and that might have put me from unranked in the nation to Top 30. That’s always been my favorite shoe. I don’t know why I didn’t go to those in college because that’s what I was hooping in during high school.
For college though, it was ‘Black Cat’ 3s. I still love the ’01 Black/Cements though. The Countdown Pack was cool, but that’s where it got tough to differentiate who was really into it because there’s so many options now with re-re-releases. I honestly just fall back now, but in college it was cool because I had to dig and dig because I wore a 14.
I had ‘Cool Grey’ 3s too, but our coaching staff was pretty on-color scheme so it was tough to rock certain things and not raise eyebrows from the coaching staff. The ‘Cool Grey’ 3s were a killer coloway to me personally. I had the ‘Cool Grey’ 4s in high school, too, but the black sole threw it off to me a bit. They were dope though, definitely rocked those.”
Air Jordan 4
Patrick Christopher: “I was a fan of playing in 4s. I think I had orthotics, but I have a wide foot so 3s and 4s were cool for me. I had ‘Lightning’ and ‘Thunder’ 4s and I didn’t hoop in either of them, even though I got them specifically to play in. My ‘Thunder’ 4s were still deadstock my senior year, but I was in a Kobe phase and I regret not hooping in those. I know Gilbert and Nick Young ended up playing in the ‘Lightning’ 4s in the NBA, but I regret not playing in those, too.”
Air Jordan 5
Patrick Christopher: “That was the 2005 retro. I think we got some B’Loyal team Jordans with yellow lace-locks and I switched those into my 5s, so it looked like a little PE. I definitely did that. [laughs]”
Air Jordan 6
Patrick Christopher: “As for 6s, I had the ‘Midnight Navy’ 6s but they were some biscuits and it was like glue city trying to get those to hold together. I also had the ’01 Black/Infrared 6s and I remember getting those painted to yellow so I could wear them, but the sole on the front got separated. I may have been able to warm up in them. I should’ve had a frickin’ photographer [Laughs], like a homie that could’ve documented me switching shoes each quarter. It’s funny because I ended up getting all this pub my sophomore year doing sneaker interviews and having news people come to the crib. It was a thing back then as well, but it was more kicks off court, taking photos of my collection, which is wild, too.
I didn’t play in the 7s in college, but I hooped in them overseas in Europe. I left all my kicks in Istanbul and we were white and black for team colors and the Turkish flag was red. I hooped in ‘Doernbecher’ 3s and ‘Bin’ 7s and I left it all there. I ended up getting turf toe in the ‘Bin’ 7s because they were so wide up front. I might’ve played in the ‘Aqua’ 8s in college, but none of the other colorways. The all-white low tops would’ve been solid, though.”
Air Jordan 9
Patrick Christopher: “As for 9s, I did the ‘Pearl’ Lows against UCLA on College GameDay and I had to have something solid. I had to re-buy those because they dropped when I was in middle school and I didn’t start wearing 14s until middle school. Then I had the White/Black-Red 9s and I put shoe polish on the white upper to make them black and my own PE. Then I went to a spray paint place and had the 23 on the back painted yellow and the Jumpman on the bottom. Thinking back, nail polish would’ve been a good option. I ended up playing in those against Stanford and against USC when I was coming back home. I also wore the White/Black-Reds against Baylor and Arizona.
The 9 took my basketball career away though. I got hurt in those when I played against the Jazz. That was the career ending shoe. [Laughs] I dislocated my patella and tore my MCL. I never had an injury before in life, no knee issues, no nothing. I didn’t miss a game in college. But I guess Jordan never played in the White/Black-Red pair, he only played in the ‘Cool Grey’ pair with the Wizards. Maybe that should’ve been my clue. [Laughs]
For 10s, I never hooped in those in college. That’s when the Countdown Pack came out my junior year, but I had a teammate that rocked them, so I was cool on them. Once the CDPs started coming, that’s when the watered down effect kind of started happening.”
Air Jordan 11
Patrick Christopher: “Another shoe that was stolen. I was getting hit! [Laughs] I had ’01 ‘Concords’ back then and I had maybe like four pairs of DMPs. That was one shoe that hoopin’ in wasn’t a thing and I had to get them in a 15 because that was the only option. I ended up doing an interview with one of the hoopers from the girls’ squad, so I rocked them on the cover of the school magazine. The Cal colors were tough. I guess I could’ve done white and black in a lot of stuff, but that would’ve been easy. I wore the IEs after college, but none of the other lows.
Growing up, I went to the same high school as Josh Childress, and he got the ‘Cool Grey’ 11s like three or four months before they came out. Obviously the 11 is such a crazy shoe and everyone’s favorite Jordan by default, but when they came out with the ‘Cool Grey’ 11s? Oh my God. Then to be able to have them early? He was the man for that for sure.”
Air Jordan 12
Patrick Christopher: “I stumbled on those OGs my freshman year. At Cal, it was kind of hard finding stuff to go with blue and gold. The saddest thing is with me wearing my own stuff, our equipment manager wouldn’t really give me as much [team issued] stuff as the other guys on the team. I see what Cal gets now — which is dope — but we didn’t get a lot of heat back then, so I was for sure wearing my own stuff anyway. Those held up solid, I probably did two or three games in them. I probably dropped like maybe $250 on them. I was gonna say $300, but I was a freshman in college. Also, they weren’t deadstock. They weren’t biscuits, though. It would’ve been crazy to find a pair of OG 12s deadstock in a 14. The ‘Taxis’ came back out when I was in college too, but that’s when everybody was rocking them, so I didn’t do it.
As for 13s, I kept my eye on the Flints, but I didn’t do it. They also had the low top ‘Lightning’ and ‘Thunder’ 13s, but I couldn’t find ’em. Those would’ve been great. That would’ve been really, really sick.”
Air Jordan Fusion 12
Patrick Christopher: “You ever have a shoe that you regret wearing? I played in the Fusion 12s. It went cool, I did it against UCLA. The thing for me is I was an Air Force 1 head, so to think that you have Air Forces and my favorite player coming together? It could’ve been a better collaboration, but I ended up doing the safest colorway by wearing the ‘Playoff’ pair. I’m not ashamed, because my nickname was Air Force Fish, so I’m not mad at all. I was an Air Force 1 head.
I don’t think anybody else played in them and it’s not like I played in a low top Force. I mean, Sheed played in highs! I respect him so much for that. To do what he did in terms of just hooping in them and getting his own PE out of them is very rare. And the dude got a logo! Much respect to Sheed. He wore a 13, too. It would’ve been so killer to have a pair of those just in respect to Sheed. I did hoop in Fusions though, and I didn’t want to leave them off because it’s a part of it, so whatever. No shame.”
Air Jordan 14
Patrick Christopher: “As for 14s, I think I did the ‘Chartreuse’ pair. I did those, and I did it against Oregon too, but I played awful. I don’t know if it was disrespectful wearing their colors against them. In my heyday, as LaVar Ball would say, I would’ve tried something like wearing Oregon PEs against them.”
Air Jordan XV
Patrick Christopher: “I had to use cement glue on these joints. Those might have only made it until halftime. [Laughs] That was against Oregon State.”
Air Jordan XVI
Patrick Christopher: “It kind of hurt my feelings when those dropped again, but I did it in college so I ain’t tripping. Man, I was so excited to hoop in those. In the first five minutes, I went down the court and got some paint from the floor on them and got a big white mark on them. That was the only 16 I did. Now that I think about it, the ‘Ginger’ XVIs would’ve been OK on the road.”
Air Jordan XVII
Patrick Christopher: “Those were a big shoe, but my car got broken into and those were taken. I had some gems in the car that night and they were all in a big Nike bag. They didn’t take anything else, just my shoe bag. [Laughs] Berkeley was notorious for people still wearing heat all over the streets. I wanna say three or four cars were broken into, so I don’t want to say I was targeted. But those 17s Lows, I only got three or four wears out of, but I was fortunate to get some pictures. I had those on in one of my Facebook profile pics because I dunked on some dude.
Those were OGs obviously and I stumbled on those in college, I’ve been an avid eBay guy since like 2002. I was trying to find ‘Neon Royal’ Foamposites because they were my favorite shoe and my OGs got thrashed. Since my buddy told me to look for them on eBay, I’ve been on it every day. Case in point, when I was in middle school, I was looking for some sneakers on eBay to rock for a Sadie Hawkins dance. My buddy was cousins with Jamal Sampson, who played for Cal when they got their Air Jordan 9 PEs — possibly one of the best PEs that Jordan Brand ever put out. I don’t know anybody who has those, even at PE booths at sneaker events. Jamal wore a size 17 and he gave my buddy a pair to wear to Sadies and he rocked them. [Laughs] So I had to find something to wear so we could sneak in. I was on eBay and NikeTalk since way back. When I was growing up, I was on NikeTalk checking the NCAA Heat on Feet. I don’t want to say it was my motivation, but I made some waves on there, too.”
Air Jordan XIX
Patrick Christopher: “I wanted the 19s because Ben Gordon hooped in those and used to get buckets. He made those shoes tight in my opinion. I hooped in those in high school, but not in college. It’s crazy, the patent leather on the toe box was so hard it scraped the skin off my toe and that skin never came back. [Laughs] Well it came back, but I learned my lesson and never hooped in them in college. I also did the SEs in college, white and navy and black with gold. I should’ve hooped in the XXs. The West Coast pair would’ve been solid — I remember Nick [Young] did those with the Lakers.”
Air Jordan XX2
Patrick Christopher: “I did the first drop that was in white/black and then the Cal PE. At Cal, we didn’t get any retros my freshman and sophomore year, but when I was there we did get a dope Jordan XX2 PE — but I only got one pair and everybody else got like three pairs! All bad… [Laughs] Georgetown might have had the best XX2 PE though, those were real.”
[Editor’s Note: Pat’s game runs so deep, he even remembered the Air Jordan XX2 sample that leaked on NikeTalk with 3M heel details and heat sensitive styling. Mad respect.]
Air Jordan XX3
Patrick Christopher: “I did the black pair. I loved hooping in those, those were comfortable to me. They were tough to break in, but once they broke in they were good. They had fiber glass on the outsole, so if you happened to slide on the side you were gonna take that dive. Now that I think about it, I think Jordan sent the coaches the low top pair in white and navy. Think the players got ’em? Nope.”
Air Jordan 2010
Patrick Christopher: “The D Wades. Interesting story, that was the 25th Anniversary of Jordan Brand and that was the year they did the silver jerseys. Around that time, I secretly got my hands on the “Livestrong” Kobe IVs. [Editor’s Note: Our guy Nick DePaula sent them south to Pat…] I was in my Kobe phase at that time, so I warmed up in the ‘Livestrong’ 4s with the silver jerseys and they were crackin’! The shoes looked amazing, especially with the silver jerseys. Everybody else was rocking the anniversary shoes, so I don’t know if I looked like a dick, but whatever — I’ve got the ‘Livestrong’ 4s so you can’t really say nothing!
So after warmups, we get back to the locker room and Coach Montgomery goes, ‘Patrick, where are your shoes?’ And I’m like, ‘In my locker.’ He goes, ‘You wanna go put ’em on?’ And I’m like, ‘No.’ And he goes, ‘I think you should go put them on.’
I’m not confrontational, but if you start messing with my shoe game, then we’ve got issues. Man, I was hot, but I had to go put ’em on. The thing with me was I didn’t wanna mess up the 2010s! Cal didn’t give us a bunch of shoes, so I wanted to keep ’em on ice. And also, I’m for sure not into wearing the same shoe as everyone else. So, I end up putting them on and the first time out I end up scuffing them white all the way across the upper. Those were silver, so you can’t bring those back. Man, I was so mad I don’t even think I looked at the basket, I just ended up shooting every time the ball came to me.”
Nike Kobe IV
Patrick Christopher: “The next game we ended up playing Arizona State for the Pac-10 title. I ended up finally wearing the ‘Livestrong’ IVs in that game and we won the conference title for the first time in 50 years. The confetti came down and it was a real memorable moment. Tayshaun came through. He never came to any of my games because of conflicting schedules, but the Pistons were in town to play the Warriors, so he ended up sitting courtside. It was cool, it worked out the way it was supposed to.”
“I don’t want to say the Kobe IV revolutionized kicks, but man that shoe was crazy. I had a lot of those. The Lower Merion joints and all. I also did the Zoom Kobe 1s, that was a really good shoe. They were wide and I wore those my freshman year, then brought them back my senior year.”
Nike Kobe V
Patrick Christopher: “I wore the ‘Bruce Lee’ Kobes before they came out. I stumbled upon a pair and Kobe hadn’t rocked them yet, so I don’t think I was supposed to wear them, but I ended up rocking them anyway — I think against Oregon. I was in a Kobe phase at that time and they looked sick with our uniforms. I want to say I played in the ‘Jokers’ before they dropped, too. Both were dope with our uniforms. Eventually I went back to wearing Jordans, because everybody started wearing Kobes.
Later on when we played Duke in the tourney, they had their own Kobe PE and they beat the shit out of us. I ended up finding a pair of Rice Kobes that looked pretty dope with our road uniforms. Kyle Singler to this day still owes me a pair of those Duke PEs. I saw him this past summer and said, ‘You owe me a pair of shoes bro!’ He goes, ‘Man, Kobe Vs…’ [Laughs] I’ve known Kyle since Nike Camp [in High School], so I asked him for a pair that game during tip-off.”
Nike Air Zoom Generation
Patrick Christopher: “Lately I’ve taken such a big backseat to sneakers, especially since I’m not even hooping right now. I have two younger brothers now and one of them wears a 14, so I’ll give him a gem here and there to rock in the playoffs or the AAU circuit. Then my other brother is a size 12, but I brought him some ‘Wheat’ Air Zoom Generations, deadstock, and he didn’t even understand those! Hey, I’m not mad at them bringing back the AZG, but don’t do something so close to the OG like the ‘Vachetta Tans’ they did. But if you still have your OGs, you’re still known.”
Nike Zoom LeBron IV
Patrick Christopher: “Freshman year was cool. I was wearing LeBrons and I did the White/Navy IVs. Nick Young and Gabe Pruitt actually wore the gold All-Star Game LeBron IVs at USC. I tried to do it too at Cal, but coach shut it down in lay up lines. I had got my pops to rush to NikeTown so I could wear those against UCLA, but no chance.”
The Pac-10 When Pat Was at Cal
Patrick Christopher: “Sophomore year was a big year for me because my average went from 5 points to 15 points a game — the biggest scoring increase in the country. It was a big summer for me working out, because I went to LeBron’s camp and Vince Carter’s Skills Academy. I did a lot of stuff that summer and anytime you’re ready for that, you’re ready for it sneaker wise, too. We had a squad, too. We had Ryan Anderson, DeVon Hardin, and I don’t think anyone expected me to play the way I did.
That year, the Pac-10 had six teams go to the tourney and we weren’t even one of them. USC had OJ Mayo, Oregon had Tajuan Porter and Malik Hariston, Arizona had Chase Budigner, Nic Wise — my roommate at Nike Camp, that was my guy — and Jerryd Bayless, Washington had Quincy Pondexter, Isaiah Thomas, Spencer Hawes and Justin Holiday — they were our biggest rival, Stanford had the Lopez twins and Landry Fields, Arizona State had James Harden and UCLA went to the Final Four with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love. The conference was loaded with pros.”
Pat’s Favorite College Kicks On Court of His Era
Patrick Christopher: “When it comes to rocking Kobes in college though, the title goes to OJ Mayo wearing the ‘All-Star’ Kobe IIIs at USC. Unless somebody did the ‘Wheat’ AZGs, that’s the best, because USC is super tough to match with. Isaiah Thomas did the ‘Linen’ 10s at Washington, too, which was tough. If your school colors aren’t easy and you make it match? That’s killer to me. He did that after my Cal days, but I still remember that.”
“Growing up though, Tayshaun Prince was my next door neighbor, so Kentucky was really the only NCAA team I watched. Tayshaun was not a sneaker guy, but they had the Shox BB4, which was so dope because the college dudes got the suede pair. Man, those were coveted. Once they put them on NIKEiD that was cool, but you had to be a college guy to get the early ones. Like man, Vince Carter jumped over a dude in that shoe! The ‘Boing’ commercials were so dope, too. I think Vince Carter has been a part of every sneaker brand of all time! He’s played in everything.”
Thanks to everyone for tuning into March Madness Memories, catch ’em all here.