Sometimes, the most powerful of messages can be sent with the tiniest of statements. In Donovan Mitchell’s case, a pair of red sneakers on a Friday night might be the most powerful show of solidarity to his fellow Louisville alumni.
Earlier in the week, the NCAA hit Louisville with sanctions for violating bylaws regarding improper benefits for student athletes. The sanctions included Louisville having to pay back all the money from their NCAA tournament appearance and vacating all of their basketball wins from 2012 to 2015, including the removal of their championship banner in 2013.
The reaction to the penalties have been a mixed bag, with some saying that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, while others argue that the consequences don’t go far enough. Kevin Ware, who famously broke his leg during the 2013 title run, tweeted that even if the championship is no longer officially recognized that he’s got some jewelry to show for it. However, it’s Mitchell who will make headlines this weekend with his choice in footwear.
Mitchell is wearing a pair of Red Dame 4’s, but a closer looks reveals a bigger story. The outside of the shoes bear the names of all the players from the 2013 national championship team, while the backs of the shoes read “2013 National Champs,” showing that Mitchell supports not only his fellow Cardinal players but his former coach Rick Pitino.
Mitchell never played for that national title team, but the show of support is admirable. However, it begs the question of whether this is a one-time show of solidarity or whether Mitchell might continue this for the rest of the season. While the former is more likely, one can hope that the latter is the case.