Jordan fanatic Rojas shows off shoe collection

May 5th, 2020

MIAMI -- is not just intently watching "The Last Dance” on ESPN. The Marlins shortstop is fully invested in the 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan in his glory days with the Chicago Bulls.

An avid basketball and Jordan fan, Rojas also happens to have an expensive sneaker collection, which is largely filled with Nike's Air Jordan kicks. Rojas started his collection in 2013, and since then, he has accumulated more than 120 pairs of sneakers. He estimates between 60-80 pairs are from the Air Jordan brand.

“I really connected with Jordan and what Jordan did for the game of basketball,” Rojas said. “I think he was the best player to ever play the game.”

A native of Venezuela, Rojas has long been a basketball fan. Aside from baseball, it is his favorite sport. As a child, he envisioned playing in the NBA, but instead, his baseball career took off.

Rojas reached the big leagues with the Dodgers in 2014, and the following season, he was traded to the Marlins. Once he had more money, he devoted more resources to stockpiling sneakers.

“I always wanted to have every pair of shoes from Michael Jordan,” Rojas said. “That's something that I've been doing. I started this collection with a couple of pairs back in 2013.”

Rojas shared his passion for shoes on Sunday, when he tweeted a photo of a portion of his collection and asked which pair he should wear while watching "The Last Dance.” On Monday morning, Rojas sported the same model of shoe that Jordan wore during Sunday’s episode, the pair he wore at the 1992 Olympics.

“The first thing in the morning, when I woke up [Monday], I wore those shoes when I worked out,” Rojas said. “There's so much motivation when I watch a documentary like that, because it inspires me to get better.”

The Air Jordan brand includes a baseball cleat as well, and not surprisingly, Rojas wears them.

Jordan, of course, has baseball ties, having previously played in the White Sox system with Double-A Birmingham in 1994. He's also close friends with Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter. In 2019, Jordan visited the Marlins in Spring Training, and he watched at least one game in Miami.

In Jeter’s playing days with the Yankees, he wore Jordan-brand cleats. Rojas has a pair of Jordan baseball cleats autographed by Jeter.

“I always go back to Jordan’s games and the history of his career, and see what kinds of shoes and the colors that he wore,” Rojas said. “Those are the ones I like to have in my collection.”

Rojas has a variety of colors with the sneakers, so he can match them to what he is wearing outside of the baseball field.

In recent years, during Marlins’ home games, Rojas would arrive at the park wearing a different pair of sneakers pretty much every day.

“If you see me coming into the ballpark, you're always going to see me with a pair of Jordans at home,” he said. On the road, it’s different, because of the team’s traveling dress code.

The roots of Rojas starting his collection date back to his days with the Dodgers. In 2014, when he made his MLB debut, he was teammates with Carl Crawford, who had a massive collection.

“Carl Crawford was a Jordan guy,” Rojas said. “He was a big sneaker guy. I remember he had a deal. He had big boxes of Jordan shoes. He shared with guys in the clubhouse. I started my collection with those pairs, and the ones I already had.”

Today, Rojas’ collection is getting so big, he is working to find more space at his house.

“I made my own shoe department,” he said. “It's getting full now. I need to find more space. I keep getting pairs. I'm going to keep getting pairs, and it's going to keep growing.”