By Timothy Pratt
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Las Vegas has a fake Eiffel Tower and a fake Egyptian pyramid, but the Guinness Book of World Records recently confirmed that the city can now lay claim to a new and authentic world record: the world's largest collection of sneakers.
The record keepers at Guinness certified this month that Jordan Michael Geller's Shoezeum, a shrine to Nike that he says includes one of every model of Air Jordans ever made, holds the record with more than 2,500 pairs, all but eight of which are Nikes.
For a $10 ticket, visitors can see Nikes designed to evoke "birds, bees, flowers and trees," others based on the Simpsons, the Hulk, the Human Torch and even Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch, and two pairs of yellow lobster Nikes. Only three dozen of those were made, according to Geller.
Geller, 35, said it wasn't until he finished law and business school degrees at the University of San Diego that he began transforming a childhood fascination with Nike sneakers into a life project.
Starting with $300 and more than a dozen credit cards, Geller began a five-year buying and selling spree, hunting down remainders and sales at Nike stores and offering the sneakers on eBay. Along the way, he got hold of some rare Nikes online.
Less than a dozen pairs of the shoes at the museum have been worn - but those include a pair that Michael Jordan laced on as a rookie for the Chicago Bulls. The most expensive? A pair made by Converse commemorating the 30th anniversary of Jordan's 1982 game-winning shot for the University of North Carolina in the NCAA finals. They cost $7,100.
Geller began showing his collection out of a San Diego warehouse last year before he decided to hit the road to Las Vegas. Along the way, he felt guided by destiny - including his name, which he said his parents gave him without thinking of Michael Jordan the player.
"I would love to give a tour of the museum to Michael Jordan," he said. "That would be the ultimate dream come true."
He has added another 100 pairs since the Guinness certification in April. Nike did not respond to calls for comment.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Jackie Frank)