The tall kid from Coatesville, Pennsylvania stood on a yellow ladder with his share of a basketball net in his hand, backwards Starter hat on his head, championship T-shirt over his University of Connecticut jersey. 

This was Rip Hamilton over 20 years ago in the aftermath of leading the Huskies to their first national title in program history after a win over Duke in 1999. Flash-forward two decades and the most important part of that scene was the Jordan 14 sneakers Hamilton laced up during UConn's tournament run, a pair of shoes that Jordan Brand is now releasing in his honor as a Rip Hamilton PE on April 6.

A longtime Jordan Brand athlete, Hamilton is a made man in the sneaker world. His collection of player exclusive kicks are legendary, but his iconic PE's have never been available for the public to get their hands on until this release.

"It means a lot," Hamilton told CBS Sports in an exclusive interview. "The Jordan Brand has been an instrumental part of my career. I always said as a kid, 'When you look good, you play good on the floor.' It's always what you have on your feet, everything else -- your jersey, your shorts -- is similar to everyone else on your team, but your shoes more show your personality.

"It's just an honor. Me having the opportunity to play with Michael Jordan, the greatest player of all time and my favorite player of all time, and then getting an opportunity to wear his shoes. And now I'm retired and they're rewarding me and my career especially from the success that I had from winning the national championship and wearing the shoes in the championship game." 

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As someone who's literally capable of wearing a different pair of shoes for every day of the year, it's hard to trigger a ton of emotion from Hamilton when it comes to a pair of kicks, but you can see and hear the emotions when he talks about first getting word that Jordan was set to release his Jordan 14 Rip Hamilton PE.

"It was an exciting feeling because [Jordan Brand] doesn't have to do that. Michael's going to sell shoes regardless, he doesn't need me or anyone else to sell shoes," Hamilton said. "But anytime you can be attached to a shoe when you're retired and not playing anymore it's actually one of the greatest feelings of my basketball career because it's not something they're trying to endorse or advertise because I'm out there playing in the shoe. It's an honor for them to appreciate my career, from what I had in college to the NBA, with me being attached to this shoe."

Rip Hamilton's sneaker legend started during his time at UConn. Getty Images

The NCAA Tournament run in 1999, the one that ended in a title and a Most Outstanding Player award, was just the most visible sneaker run for Hamilton. But his time at UConn, a Nike school, was inundated with the classic shoes he wore on the court while terrorizing his competition. As much as his tenure with the Huskies showed off what was yet to come on the court in the NBA, it was also a prelude to an unprecedented sneaker career.

"I always loved wearing Jordans -- when you put them on you automatically felt like an All-Star, like an All-NBA guy, like you made it already even though you were still in college," Hamilton said. "I always switched up my sneakers that season. Some days I wore Penny's, some days I wore Scottie Pippen's, but Jordan's were always the ones that I wore in the big games."

Hamilton wore the Jordan 14 for the big game against Duke and put on an All-Star performance, leading all players with 27 points and laying the foundation for a program that had previously never reached that level of success.

After the title run for UConn, Hamilton got selected seventh overall by the Washington Wizards in the 1999 NBA Draft. With the Wizards, Hamilton proved he was a force to be reckoned with for years to come in the league. And though it took some lobbying with Michael Jordan himself, Hamilton eventually became a part of the Jordan Brand family and his sneaker legacy skyrocketed.

Michael Jordan (left) and a young Rip Hamilton (right) as members of the Wizards. Getty

So with his legacy set, championships won, a massive sneaker collection and so many different shoes worn in big moments, where does the Jordan 14 PE rank as far as telling the story of Rip Hamilton's basketball career?

"It's up there. There's nothing like getting your first Jordan shoe with your name on it. That's my No. 1. I got them at home in the case. There's nothing like having 'Rip City' and the No. 32 on a Jordan. Come on, man. You couldn't dream of anything better than that," Hamilton said. "But just being able to wear that sneaker on that stage against arguably one of the best teams in college basketball in Duke, that had four or five NBA guys, but to be on that stage and perform the way that I did and to win the title that has to go up there as a top three shoe in my Jordan collection all time."