Detroit Pistons rookie Andre Drummond has been hurt for four weeks with a stress fracture in his back, but while his trick shot over a wall of shoeboxes Thursday at Portland’s Oddball.com shoe warehouse isn’t part of his rehab, it’s still pretty awesome. So is the backstory of how it happened. Detroit is in town to play the Trail Blazers, and Drummond made a stop at a store that’s becoming an increasingly popular place for NBA players to cop footwear, its co-founder says. After I saw the video this morning of Drummond nailing a long shot after shooting over a shelf, I called Oddball.com’s office in Portland to talk with company co-founder Seth Longaker, who started the business with the tagline “Big Shoes for Big Feet” with his brother, Zac, about 16 years ago. I wanted to know about the origins of the shot, but instead stumbled upon a pretty well-known kicks outpost in Portland among the NBA circle.
Dime: I saw the video and had to ask how it came to be. Is it pretty common for players to stop in on road trips to Portland?
Seth Longaker: We get about a guy or two a team. It’s hard, Nike’s in town so obviously they get shuttled out there and adidas is in town, too. But guys who know we’re here stop in pretty regularly. We’re just about a five-minute cab ride from downtown so guys will come out here and then we’ll drop them back off at their hotel usually.
Dime: How did it happen that he took that shot?
SL: When he came in yesterday we were close to closing, so we were all playing around, just shooting around in the back. He said that he didn’t really want to look at shoes but wanted to play some hoops. We have a thing where if you make a trick shot like that you sign the backboard.
Dime: What’s his shot called?
SL: I think he was calling it the Drummond.
Dime: What were the particulars of the shot, because it’s kind of hard to tell from the video.
SL: He shot over a shelf that’s about 20 feet high. It had to clear two beams and a shelf, and the beams are about 25 feet up — it’s harder than it looks. He did it on his third try. The time before he almost knocked out a light.
Dime: Has Drummond stopped by before?
SL: Yeah, when he was in town before for an adidas event. He and Perry Jones III out of Baylor came in together with a couple other guys. You know they like to shop and we hit it off.
Dime: Is the hoop a standing tradition, where you have guys take shots at it when they come in?
SL: No, no. Earlier in the summer last year we had a mini hoop up and we have another one in the warehouse. [Drummond] tweeted at me yesterday and wanted to see if we could play. We play HORSE in the back of the shop sometimes with staff and that’s my thing. So he came by and said let’s try some shots.
Dime: You’ve created a monster with that hoop now for when other guys come in now.
SL: I hope so! It’s a fun thing to do.
Dime: So what kind of shoes were Drummond looking at? Obviously he’s an adidas guy.
SL: Everyday hang out shoes. For whatever reason adidas has some trouble getting casual shoes to their promotional athletes so sometimes they’ll stop in and check out the adidas casual. He needed some dress shoes because he’s been hurt, and needed some more fun shoes. He liked some PF Flyer boots and Creative Rec, too. I think he picked up a couple pairs of Steve Madden.
Dime: Sneakers are such an integral part of the NBA culture and lifestyle it seems like your store would be popular.
SL: Yeah I think sneakers are a part of the NBA lifestyle. It’s fun, they come in and we talk. My brother and I had big feet so we grew up like them. They see we have Chucks, Creative Rec, Rod Laver or Superstars and they come in and are like kids in a candy store. Once they come in and see we’re not looking for autographs, that we’re just brothers running a business, they understand.
Dime: Is there one player who has always been a guy who drops in to shop?
SL: We’ve been open almost 16 years in July so in terms of guys who are still in the league there aren’t many. But Brian Grant probably came in the first week we were open and still comes in. Channing Frye, when he was still in the league. There are guys who call me and text me and ask if they can help promote the brand because we have our own shoe line and apparel line for big men coming out. There’s definitely some momentum right now and it’s cool that he did this. He actually might come back today because it’s another off day for him and he can’t play.
H/t to Casey Holdahl for the video
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