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October 19, 2014

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ShoeZeum, with 2,500 pairs of Nikes, opens in downtown Neonopolis

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Steve Marcus

Nike shoes are displayed during the grand opening of the ShoeZeum at the Neonopolis mall in downtown Las Vegas Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. The collection has 2,500 pairs of new Nike shoes.

ShoeZeum in Downtown Las Vegas

Collector Jordan Michael Geller poses in the ShoeZeum at the Neonopolis mall in downtown Las Vegas Sept.1, 2012. The collection has 2,500 pairs of new Nike shoes. Launch slideshow »

The owner of the world's largest collection of Nikes is Jordan Michael Geller.

Geller said it’s a coincidence his name is so close to the legendary Chicago Bulls player and the namesake of his favorite shoes.

He picked up his interest in Nikes from a father who ran marathons and had to buy every new pair of Nike Air Jordans the moment they arrived in stores. Jordan Geller adopted his father's love for the shoes, too — so much so that he created a museum dedicated to them.

The ShoeZeum, Geller's collection of 2,500 never-worn Nikes, opened Thursday in downtown Las Vegas. Ironically, the museum dedicated to athletic shoes sits in Neonopolis behind a fast-food restaurant named the Heart Attack Grill.

A sports memorabilia store also is planned for the center.

"I think this is a great place, especially across from the Toy Shack, which is all about rediscovering your childhood," Jordan Geller said.

As a child, Jordan Geller accompanied his father to the shoe store.

"He would tell me all about the shoes," Jordan Geller said.

Jordan Geller went to law school but never lost his passion for Nikes. He bought and sold them on Ebay, then used his profits to round out his collection. He said he has paid up to $7,100 for a single pair.

When Jordan Geller passed the bar and became an attorney in California, his bar number sealed his fate. It was 234523.

"Those were the three numbers Michael Jordan wore in his career," he said. "It was almost like fate, a sign I needed to do this."

Nike's slogan is "Just Do It." So Geller did.

The first ShoeZeum opened in San Diego last year.

“I thought it needed to be in Las Vegas, a place that had so many attractions,” he said. “I thought this would be a good place for more people to be able to see it.”

The ShoeZeum's Facebook page has more than 7,800 followers. Although not affiliated with Nike, company executives have visited the display, Jordan Geller said, as has Ebay founder Meg Whitman.

The ShoeZeum is open from 4 p.m. to midnight daily. Admission costs $10 and buys visitors a peek at 23 shoe exhibits with themes such as music, movies and the Olympics. There are Nikes designed in honor of the 1980s Michael J. Fox movie "Teen Wolf" and Guinness Beer Nikes. Jordan Geller built the display cases for the 7,500-square-foot space.

His shoe collection is the largest in the world, certified by the Guinness Book of World Records.

As for Geller's favorite pair, they are the only ones that have been worn — a game pair from Michael Jordan.

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