The Pacers big man debuts a pair of customized Nike Kobe 5s Monday night with a special Indianapolis flair.
When Myles Turner takes the court tonight at home, he’ll be doing so in a fan-designed sneaker to celebrate his connection to Indianapolis and the excitement of having fans returning to arenas around the league.
Earlier this spring, the Pacers center and reigning NBA blocks leader teamed up with Mountain Dew to give one lucky fan a chance to design his future game shoes, with fans submitting their design concepts on Twitter in a contest dubbed “Kick it on the Court.”
“I’m very active [in the community] and I like to immerse myself with the fans,” said Turner. “With COVID, it’s been difficult the past couple years. This is just a chance for fans to still have some sort of interaction with me.”
After looking through nearly two dozen submissions, Turner hand-picked a Pacer-hued Nikes styled by local graphic designer Leah Pinney, that featured an Indiana crossroads-inspired graphic and portrait of the 6’11” making yet another block at the rim.
With a city skyline along the forefoot of the shoe, the ‘317’ area code along the midfoot, and the Pacers logo along the inner panel of the shoe, her winning design was eventually hand-painted by longtime leading customizer Sierato, one of the go-to artists for NBA players around the league.
“I was ecstatic when I found out I won the Mountain Dew Kick it on the Court contest!” said Pinney. “I’ve been a Pacers fan for years, and Myles has always been one of my favorite players.”
Styled atop the Nike Kobe 5, one of Turner’s go-to game shoes, the design won out with more detail and storytelling throughout the shoe.
“She was able to incorporate all of the things that I love,” he said. “One was Indianapolis, one was a crossroads map of the state of Indiana. Then there’s a visual of me blocking in the center of it. I’ve been campaigning for myself to be Defensive Player of the Year and All-Defensive team, with all of the things that I do with my defensive prowess. It’s cool she was able to make everything come together.”
Able to still connect with fans in a virtual setting, Turner connected with Pinney to finalize her design for his game shoes.
“It was me, her, and Sierato all talking, and she was able to explain her concept and how excited she was,” said Turner. “Sierato was able to make her vision come to life, so it’s amazing.”
In addition to wearing the custom sneakers at home against the Bucks – with Pinney in the Fieldhouse to support – Turner and Mountain Dew will also be auctioning of eight additional pairs of custom sneakers with Sierato to help benefit his WARM Foundation.
Turner and Mountain Dew also donated 150 pairs of basketball shoes to boys’ and girls’ high school basketball players throughout the Indiana Public Schools (IPS) district. Short for “We All Really Matter” and inspired by a childhood quote from his mom growing up, Turner and his family have often given back to the homeless and less fortunate through their foundation in the Indianapolis and Texas regions where they’ve called home.
With more fan contests and activations in store ahead, Turner hopes to place the spotlight on Pinney’s winning design as the Pacers play host to the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.
“Now that we have fans back in the building, that’s a huge thing. It makes a world of difference,” smiles Turner. “I want to make sure that I give her a shout-out to let her know that all her hard work is out there on display.”