LeBron James scored 20 points and came close to a triple-double as the suddenly hot Los Angeles Lakers took down the Grizzlies in Memphis Saturday night. The lasting image, though, will be one of his kindness in the waning moments. James called over 23-year-old Brian’e Miller, an assistant equipment manager for the Grizzlies, and presented her with a pair of his game-worn sneakers.
Miller, who wears a pair of LeBron’s sneakers to work every day, was moved to tears by the unexpected interaction. James explained why he did it postgame, along the way revealing his eye for small details.
The Commercial Appeal caught up with Miller afterward.
“It’s emotional because so many years I’ve been idolizing him,” Miller explained once she went back to work, helping pack the Lakers’ bags for the plane flight home. “He has so many fans. That’s the thing. I’m not a fan just when LeBron comes. I’m a fan when he’s not looking, so it was just really cool to see him appreciate me.”
It’s was a small gesture — for anyone and especially James, who has poured tremendous time and resources into giving back — but an enormous one to the person affected. Sometimes a sweaty shoe is more than a sweaty shoe.