While he does not show his face often…you know him by name. You know him by his collection. You know him by his dope edits. You may see his tagged images with his name, and those who follow him feel like they personally know him. Jason Donnar is known to many in the sneaker community and while they may know him; they do not (all) know his story. It is one of triumph and humility. And if sneakers could talk…we’re sure his would say the same. In this second installment of Collector Stories, we talk with Donnar as he tells us and the world his story and shares with us his collection.
A: Born and Raise in Indiana my entire life, 26-year old graduate of Ball State University. Degree in Finance and currently just started up my new career as a Financial Analyst for an International Trucking/Leasing Company. (Quality Companies, LLC).
Grew up an avid basketball fan. Sports teams would be Miami Hurricanes, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Heat (don’t enjoy or like baseball/soccer). Early age was told to stick to one sport (whether that’s right or not) and just focus totally on that.
Basketball has been the go-to sport since I was six. I’ve always had more interest in NBA over college because I like watching the best in the world on highest level.
Never been loyal to the Pacers (hometown team) but you won’t find me even as a kid liking them. I’ve always been really into certain players and I’m such a fan of the game, I just like watching all the games. It wasn’t until 1995 when I started really following anyone other than Jordan. I had all his b-ball cards, posters, books and anything that had to do with him. I still have most of those hanging on my walls. I was fortunate enough to see LeBron in high school and ever since then its been a wrap. Always thought he was such a good person off the court (no arrest, legal trouble, affairs, addictions.. etc). Was lucky enough to see him a lot between here and Cleveland. Harder to go to the games now, but when I get my chances, you’ll always see me there.
Q: How did you get hooked on sneakers? Was it a life long thing, a love for them or something you just decided to do because of the passion?
A: So Many Cliche answers are popping in my head “couldn’t afford them, favorite player growing up..” but to be completely honest I think it was the fact I just had other hobbies growing up and didn’t want to be like these kids today who are missing their childhood to camp online for a sneaker.
Once I got out of college, paid off my tuition and everything that came with expenses, it was FINALLY my time to spend the money the way I wanted to and doing it responsibly.
I was able to get any shoe growing up as long as I paid for it. My parents would give me $60 and anything over that was on me. This allowed me to get a lot of Iverson’s, but Jordans were too expensive and at the time I had way better things to spend my money on. I knew I’d go back to get some but never expected it to take off like this. Once I got out of college I picked up a few LeBrons off clearance that I had wanted. Growing up, I had a few LeBrons I beat to death (Zoom Soldier 3s, AZG White/Varsity Red, Bred 4 and 6) but I didn’t have the mindset of a “collector” or care how they got. Once I started getting some nice LeBrons and seeing the community around it, just drew my attention in more.
Sneaker Life really is an addiction, just have to make it a positive addiction!
Q: You have quite the LeBron collection and it’s been featured multiple times but why LeBrons? What was it that drove you to collect all these LeBrons?
A: Appreciate it! And to be completely honest, it was because I thought the Iversons fell off and the market to find those shoes were so hard at the time. I got out of college in 2010 so 8s were around everywhere. I think that has a lot to do with why that model stands with me so much. Ken Link did a great job with the early LeBron line but (Jason) Petrie really nailed it perfectly with the 8s. I’ve grown to love the VII’s but was never really into them until recently (comfort changes how I feel on shoes a lot and those are so comfortable) but honestly just having the money to and everything else in life going well that I chose to collect. I don’t drink/smoke, or go out every weekend so money is saved doing that instead.
Q: How many pairs are currently in your LeBron collection alone?
Q: What about your other sneakers, how many do you own (outside of LeBrons)?
A: Outside of LeBrons, I have 17 other pairs. I have the classic Jordans, Nike SB’s, Reebok Questions (for Iverson still) and one pair of Adidas.
Q: When you look at the other LeBron collectors, some of whom have been featured before on various sites…what do you think separates you from them? What also separates your collection from theirs’ do you think?
A: Some collectors stick to specific models or types. The guys I really admire have the most amazing 1-6 collection and all about Ken Link. Others have great collections of SVSM or CTK or whatever the category maybe. Some of the new guys I think are trying to get EVERY colorway of the 10 or 11 and if you did that you have almost 100 pairs.
I think my diversity is what separates me from others because I’m a fan of the Lows, Highs, Soldiers, different schools, Elites.. etc.
Not sure how to really separate the question but they stand out from me with PE/Samples as I can’t justify the price for those when I like to wear my kicks. I have a few exclusive ones but nothing like these guys. However, they will admit and tell me as well when they got their pairs, the market was cheaper. Now it’s filled with too many renters buying, selling for 50/100 more to the next guy and so on and on. Social media has kind of ruined it but at same time also brought me closer to a lot of really cool collectors.
Q: Were (or are) there any other athlete’s sneakers you collected extensively?
A: No player even close to LeBron, but I use to have a pretty good Iverson collection and still have good memorabilia for Iverson but nothing like LeBron. I like Jordans too, but hold no value to me so I wear all my Jordans no matter what.
Q: What are your favorite non-LeBron sneakers?
A: Air Jordan 3 “Black Cement”, Reebok Answer II “Navy / Metallic Silver”, Jordan 6 “Infrared”, Jordan 11 “Cool Grey”, Jordan 5 “Fire Red”, Reebok Question, Nike SB Dunk High/Low, Air Jordan 1 High, Jordan 4.
Q: What is your take on the sneaker culture?
A: So many different aspects of it, but overall it’s a good thing. I think the problem is some people abuse it and others just want to complain and say there is no community. As someone who has made personal friends from YouTube and Facebook groups, I can say the culture is real. The feedback and comments I get on my YouTube alone make it all worth it. To know I have an audience for a few minutes just to watch me ramble about some LeBrons makes it so cool.
To keep the culture going the right way, just got to keep up positivity and promoting the right way to do things.
Q: Out of all the things you’ve done that’s sneaker related what sticks out in your mind? What is your fondest memory or what has brought you the most joy?
A: The success YouTube has brought. I’m no big name by ANY means but the fact that brands like Sprite, UnKnwn & Champs have reached out to send care packages, shoes, clothing, etc means everything to me. I would of never thought youtube would do anything like this so for it to pay off in that way and for it to be lebron related is beyond words can describe. I’d say that along with the people I’ve met are the two best parts of sneaker culture.
Q: What’s your biggest sneaker related goal?
A: It’s an ongoing goal. I just want to be one of the main people that others can rely on for sneaker related info pertaining specifically to LeBron. I don’t have a set goal, just to keep going the way I am and get my name out there so others can have the info I never had. To get recognized by LeBron himself or do anything among his team/company would be a bonus too! Hah!
Q: What is your biggest non-sneaker related goal?
A: Just to live a life my mom would be proud of. I was recently laid off and been looking for work over past few months. Finally found a job that matched my degree from college and to continue to grow and within my company and be successful so I can do all this fun stuff.
Job/Family > Shoes, so you have to balance it out and remember what’s important in life.
Q: What LeBrons are you chasing next?
A: I have the 2K14’s secured thanks to a fellow friend I met in the sneaker community who gave me the code FOR FREE. That right there shows you how strong the community is.
What The LeBron 11 is the main thing I care about. Older LeBrons and others are always on my call sheet, buts the one I’m chasing the most I absolutely can NOT miss out on.