HS basketball: The kid in the pink shoes
Everyone notices Jordan Pina’s pink shoes.
Actually, most people do more than that when they see what the senior guard at Classen High is wearing. Some make fun of him. Some heckle him. Some even start not-so-nice chants about his kicks.
But Pina isn’t changing them.
“Not unless I find some more pink ones,” he said. “That’s the only way I’ll change shoes.”
That’s because Pina wears them to honor his mother, Robin. She died of breast cancer in 2008.
Pina and his four older sisters watched as their mom battled the insidious disease for three years. She had surgery. She had radiation. She had chemotherapy. She still went on about her life, being the disciplinarian that kept her kids in line while being the nurturer that would gladly whip up a batch of the spaghetti that her son loved so much.
By Thanksgiving of 2007, she was doing better. Her hair was even starting to grow back.
“Then,” her son remembered, “it just came right back.”
Less than two months later, Robin was dead.
Since then, her children have done everything possible to support breast cancer awareness. All the girls got tattoos. They do the walk during the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. But Jordan never really had a tribute of his own.
Then, he saw the pink Nikes a couple years ago.
“I had to get ‘em,” he said. “The first day I saw ‘em was when I had to go get ‘em. I got a lot of hassle about it at first (from friends), but I know what it means, so it really doesn’t matter.”
These shoes, by the way, aren’t subtle. We’re not talking about a white or black shoe with pink trim or pink accents. We’re talking about pink shoes. Almost every inch of the Nike Hyper Dunks that he’s wearing this season are pink, from the leather to the stitching to the soles.
And in the sometimes unforgiving world of high school sports, kids can be cruel. Pina, one of Classen’s top scorers, admits that some of the things he’s endured and some of the words he’s heard surprised even him. He not only hears the barbs but also feels the sting, even if it’s only momentarily.
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