OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- The season of gift-giving is here.
A metro high school basketball team received presents they'll never forget, and they came from an NBA superstar.
Shoes are stealing the show at Shawnee Mission North High School, where young players aim to follow in the footsteps of legends. Boys on the Indians varsity basketball team are one step closer.
A season ago, the Indians (21-4) slammed their way to their first state championship since 1953. Imagine their surprise, when on Tuesday, a big box arrived at the school, along with a message from a legend.
“Hey, LeBron here,” began the videotape, as Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, addressed the Indians players.
James, who won his third NBA Championship last season and his first for his hometown ballclub, congratulated North’s program, but his kind words weren’t all he sent.
“You're all getting a brand new pair of LeBron James,” North Coach Steve Stitzler can be heard telling his players, as the room erupts into a sudden celebration.
James sent 15 pairs of his new Nike Soldier 10 shoes, rewarding the Indians for winning it all, Shawnee Mission North’s first state title in boys basketball in 63 years.
“I'm like, 'you swear to God? Right now?’,” Avante Williams, North small forward, said. “It was crazy. When I saw the video, I didn't know if it was real. Then, I saw the letters, and I knew.”
James also tucked in a note, telling North's team how proud they should be.
The note read as follows:
Now what’s it gonna take to do it again?
The squad is new, but the prize ain’t changed.
You got what it takes to stay at the top.
Don’t just believe it.
I’ll be watching.
“It's a big accomplishment to get recognition from him and get the shoes. That was great,” Danny Bradley, Jr., North point guard, said. “That was big. That just pumped us up.”
The four-time NBA MVP is an idol to many teenaged players. James gave shoes to 120 state championship teams across the nation, working ahead of time with coaches to deliver the kicks.
“They were ecstatic. They were laying on the desks and stuff after they saw this,” Stitzler told FOX 4 News. “It's a good thing for these kids. They deserve it.”
When Nike asked for the Indians' shoe sizes, Stitzler says he had to guess because he hadn't even chosen his players for the coming season yet. He says for the most part, the shoes fit.
“If you get something from LeBron, people are going to expect something. They'll be like, 'we gotta watch out for these guys’,” Williams said.
Their team already has the feet to repeat.
The school is cooperating with KHSHAA, the governing body for Kansas high school sports to allow James’ contribution. Rules prohibit amateur athletes from accepting expensive gifts, so for now, the free shoes remain the property of the high school. Players can purchase them from the high school after the season ends.