The shocking death of rapper Nipsey Hussle earlier this year has sparked an outpouring of grief from fans and friends alike, and the way the sports world has mourned has been particularly interesting. Hussle had big fans and friends in the sports world, from LeBron James and a number of NBA players to others in the NFL, including DeSean Jackson.
Though gone in tragedy, Hussle’s impact remains. Earlier this week, James posted a message about him on Instagram while wearing something from Hussle’s Marathon Clothing line. And other athletes have used their platform to elevate the message Hussle conveyed through his charitable works and beliefs.
The latest is Philadelphia Eagles wide-out DeSean Jackson, who has partnered with NFL Auction to put cleats worn during pregame warmups up for bid each week in an effort to raise money for a charity in Hussle’s name.
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WE LIVE!🤞🏾Honoring my bro @nipseyhussle legacy & auctioning off my custom Nipsey pregame cleats all season long. All proceeds will benefit the Neighborhood Nip Foundation. Plus I will personally match all funds raised and donate directly to Kross & Emani! Bid on week 1 now until 9/28. Link in bio. 🏁#TMC #JACCPOT #10Mode #FlyEaglesFly
“Our players are extremely philanthropic and are very thoughtful about the causes that are near and dear to their heart,” Alexia Gallagher, vice president of philanthropy and executive director of the NFL Foundation, told Uproxx by phone. “It’s really great that they are able to use our platform to be able to help support those causes.”
Gallagher noted a similar auction this season was designed around game-worn cleats from Drew Brees, but NFL Auction hasn’t done anything like a season-long auction to benefit the same cause. Each pair of Jackson’s cleats will be different custom designs, and each week is a new chance to win a pair at auction.
“The funds raised from NFL Auction will benefit the Nipsey Hussle Family Foundation, which is Neighborhood Nip Foundation,” Gallagher said, noting that Jackson is adding an extra personal touch to the fundraiser. “DeSean is going to personally match all proceeds raised and then will donate those funds to Nipsey’s children.”
NFL Auction works with a number of athletes to help raise money throughout the year, but according to NFL Foundation program associate Tyler Barton, this was a concept that Jackson himself came up with.
“DeSean came up with this totally on his own,” Barton said. “His agent had worked with us in the past with a pair of Jarvis Landry cleats last year and she suggested that he use our platform.”
Hussle and Jackson were close friends, and in the months following his loss he’s spoken publicly about how he’s wanted to honor his legacy.
NFL Auction noted that the Week 1 cleats sold for $2,010, one of the highest amounts the site has seen for game-worn cleats over a much shorter auction time — a week compared to the usual 30-day period. That means as the season goes on, the project is likely to be a solid fundraiser for both the foundation and, with Jackson’s matching donation, the family itself.
“This is really the first of its kind this year that we’ve been able to do this, to host a season-long custom cleat auction,” Gallagher said. “We’re excited.”