LeBron James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers this past summer meant a pairing between one of the world’s most recognizable athletes and glamour franchises. As such, intrigue and attention on the Lakers has multiplied from recent seasons.
That’s held true even when the team has played road games as they have been supported by a throng of fans. The following was particularly seen and heard during this week’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
James and the Lakers drew cheers as they put together one of their best showings this season. And when James checked out of the game for good, he created a lifetime memory for a Grizzlies employee by gifting her his game-worn Nike LeBron 16.
James later explained he’d long noticed her during his visits to the FedEx Forum. According to Jessica Benson of ABC Memphis, Grizzlies equipment assistant Brianè Miller is an ardent fan of James and rejected a $100,000 offer for the shoes:
“I’m loyal to the max. I’ve already been offered (money) for the shoes and everything. I’m not even looking at what [offers are]. There’s no way I’m letting those go. … They’re locked up. Like, they’re not even out. They can’t even see daylight. … For so long I’ve been a fan. Like, his rookie debut, I’ve been like, ‘This kid is awesome. He’s going to be special.’ It’s crazy, I was a Tony Parker fan, just because of my family background. [James] came in and I was like, ‘Ah man, I’m sorry, Tony. I’ve got to move on.’ Ever since then, I knew in his first game when he was cutting up, I was like, ‘He’s going to be special.’ I’ve just been following him. And of course, he’s never really fallen off the grid. I noticed the kicks and I just started following him and getting his shoes. I think I was ahead of him in the sneaker game before he started catching on to the sneaker game. I’ve been collecting his shoes form the jump. He’s just an outstanding player. I’ve been with him from the jump.”
While James has previously worn the purple suede colorway of his Nike LeBron 16, this is believed to be the first instance in which he’s gifted them. James does auction special versions of his signature shoes that then are put on display at I Promise School to recognize the purchaser.