With so many new players coming to the Wizards in such a short period of time, it’s been hard to get to know them all at once, and it’s hard to know where to start. Luckily, Post beat writer Michael Lee has his finger on the pulse of that locker room, so he recommended I inquire into Andre Miller’s shoelaces.
“Like, when he ties it behind his ankle?” Drew Gooden asked. “That’s like an ’80s thing. Dre is 38 years old, so he probably learned that on a playground in the early ’70s. The only other person I’ve seen do that would have to be in the late ’80s; that’s the last time I’ve seen someone do that. Maybe it’s a superstition; I don’t know.”
“That’s weird,” John Wall said. “I would never wear ’em like that.”
“Being on opposing teams, other guys know that, too,” Gooden told me. “You’re on the bench and you see him walking past, and you’re like, ‘Yo, are his shoelaces wrapped around his calves?’ ”
“I caught him sometimes when they weren’t tied at all,” Al Harrington said. “He just put little knots on the holes just so they don’t keep sliding through the loops. I guess he puts on enough ankle braces and stuff where he just packs his foot in there, and I guess they just don’t come out.”
So I asked Miller to explain how, exactly, he handles his laces.
“I just tie ’em around my ankles in a knot,” he said. “A knot in the front, and a knot around the ankles.”
So, uh, who taught him that?
“Nobody,” he said.
And, uh, what’s the significance?
“No significance,” he said. “Just something to do, something I’ve been doing since I was young.”
And, uh, does this require extra long laces or something?
“Nope,” he said. “Just regular laces.”
Miller, in fact, said he likely started doing this when he was around 9, “probably because they kept coming loose.” Harrington said Sam Cassell used to do something similar, and Wall noted that Ty Lawson often doesn’t tie his laces at all.
Meanwhile, Marcin Gortat didn’t even know that anything unusual happened with Miller’s laces. But his socks? Those, Gortat noticed.
“He kind of puts [his] socks halfway up, so on the toes, he have like extra space and sock,” Gortat told me. “I don’t know why. Like, sock is sticking out.”
Then Gortat held his fingers a good two inches apart, to demonstrate how much sock was flopping off the end of Miller’s toes.
“Just so my feet don’t bang the front of the shoes,” Miller told me, confirming that he leaves a couple inches of extra space. “For cushioning.”
But Gooden had another sock angle. He said something looks weird with the point guard’s socks above Miller’s shoes.
“I didn’t know if they were inside-out, rolled down or what,” Gooden said. “I don’t even know if there are socks. I don’t know what it is.”
Inside-out, is the correct answer.
“Yeah, that’s how I wear them,” Miller confirmed. “So the lint don’t get in my toenails. That’s how the kids wear ’em now.”
In fact, he said he picked up that trick from his son. But lately, officials have told him he has to wear the socks over his ankle braces, and the NBA’s logo has to be right-side out. Still, he likes to cut the top off the socks and wear them under his ankle braces when possible, which is why Gooden couldn’t figure it out.
“I’m like yo, that’s some type of setup right there,” Gooden said.
I asked Harrington to maybe describe Miller’s fashion stylings.
“He’s very Watts; he’s like his neighborhood, I would say,” Harrington said. “Dre’s just Dre.”
“He’s old school. He does it his way,” Wall said. “He’s been in the league, what, 16 years, and he’s been playing good. You can’t knock a man for doing what he’s doing.”
(Thanks to The Post’s Jonathan Newton for the perfect pictures.)