A detail of the shoes of American basketball player Donovan Mitchell of the USA during match 1 of the Pre-FIBA World Cup series between Australia and the USA at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, 22 August 2019.
On the back of his signature Adidas sneakers are the words “End Gun Violence” and “#DaytonStrong” and ‘#El Paso strong’, a nod to recent mass shootings in the United States in Ohio and Texas.
Donovan was quoted by Australian news channel News.com.au as saying “For me, we live in a world where we have our own rights, but senseless violence is crazy,” Mitchell told the media after. “I think, why not use this platform to just bring awareness?
“I personally can’t solve the problem myself, but I think we know as a country we need to become just more aware. And, honestly, it’s sad. It’s sad.
“You never know … I think (Team USA Assistant) Coach (Steve) Kerr said it a few weeks ago — you could walk into a mall and that could be it for you. You could walk into a movie theatre and that could be it. And that’s very sad.
“I don’t know what they’re going through, but I feel for everybody from El Paso to Dayton to Sandy Hook. I was 20 minutes away at school when Sandy Hook happened and it’s a scary feeling to never know what might happen and I think that’s just needs to stop.”
Mitchell revealed that the message on the outside of his shoes is accompanied by something more personal inside.
“I write on all my shoes every time,” he said. “Then I have the insoles that have the names of the victims from El Paso and Dayton, just because, you know, they’re the two most recent ones. But there’s so many that are happening and we just, as a country, need to come together.”
The El Paso massacre claimed the lives of 24 while in Dayton, Ohio, 10 people were killed
Photos: EPA-EFE/SCOTT BARBOUR