Cavaliers, Multimedia

The story behind Nike’s “Doernbecher” Kyrie 2

  • Nike Doernbecher Kyrie 2

  • Nike Doernbecher Kyrie 2

  • Nike Doernbecher Kyrie 2

  • Nike Doernbecher Kyrie 2

  • Nike Doernbecher Kyrie 2

  • Nike Doernbecher Kyrie 2

  • 7/7

The Doernbecher collection has become synonymous with not just Nike, but the amazing stories that come out of the shoes that are released each year because of them. Last season, Nike’s Doernbecher collection featured a version of the LeBron 13 and a story

This year, for the 2013 edition of the collection to benefit the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, we have the story of Andy Grass that has manifested itself into one really special edition of Kyrie Irving’s second signature sneaker, Nike Basketball’s Kyrie 2.

Around this time last year, Grass was in the hospital after a Christmas vacation accident led to the 10-year-old suffering from multiple bone fractures, collapsed lungs and a lacerated liver. Grass was with his siblings on a beach when an eight-foot wave rolled a log onto him, pinning his legs into the sand. He would spend 16 days in Oregon’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital where he would recover for what was supposed to be at least one month.

As with every piece in the Doernbecher collection, children hand-design every aspect of a given shoe. This year’s collection, in addition to the Kyrie 2, Nike is rolling out custom versions of the Air Max Zero, a retro Jordan VII, and a Janoski Max (among others). Like the others in its class, Grass’ version of the Kyrie 2 is rife with details ranging from insoles with a grass print (for obvious reasons) to various dedications to those who helped him through his recovery.

“I wanted to make my shoe to honor the people that helped me during my recovery,” says Andy. “I tried to make the shoe blue and white because that’s my basketball team’s colors. The ‘GRASS STRONG’ part is the tagline that people use to remember me. It was made as an encouragement to my parents and my family.”

Nike Basketball Doernbecher Kyrie 2

“Grass Strong” is featured throughout the blue- and white-based sneaker, including across the straps and underneath the insole (pictured above). Teaming up with designer Raleigh Willard and graphic designer Jen Delaney, Grass took elements from his everyday life1 and combined them with details one would only notice if they studied the shoe with the utmost care2

In addition, while the numeral 2 featured on the back of most Kyrie 2s is in Irving’s handwriting, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ point guard penned a No. 0 that was to be used on the left sneaker in this collection, providing a contrast to the No. 2 on the right. With his script of the No. 0, Irving wrote a note to Grass and his family, urging the 11-year-old to “never give up.”

The underside of the lateral strap features the words “Love Mom,” the “Grass Strong” is in UV material,3 The sneaker is topped off with a multicolored outsole, multicolored laces, a speckled midsole, and the tongue, where the signature “KI” logo is typically featured, is the logo from Andy’s baseball team.

The Doernbecher Collection Kyrie 2 will release alongside the the other sneakers in its class, hitting shelves this Saturday. While three pairs of these were auctioned off this past fall for $33,000 each, generating nearly $100,000 for the hospital, Saturday’s release will retail for $120.

  1. The blue and white is an homage to his hometown basketball team. []
  2. The Swoosh logo on the lateral side of the shoe features the word “Joy” written throughout. []
  3. “When Andy is in recovery, he’s not able to play outside,” said Raleigh. “So, we wanted to incorporate his goal to recover and get back on an outdoor court or field.” []