When the Brooklyn Nets faced the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on April 7, Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie was wearing an extra special pair of sneakers. Designed by Dinwiddie himself through his K8IROS sneaker brand, recently launched in partnership with Project Dream, Dinwiddie’s Nipsey Hussle tribute sneakers paid respects to the Los Angeles-based rapper and community activist tragically gunned down on March 31.
Winning the match up against the Pacers, Dinwiddie put the sneakers to good use off the court too. A few days after the game, Dinwiddie auctioned off the shoes — which feature blue clouds around Hussle with angel wings and a red heart on a white background — to the highest bidder at $630, with proceeds going to youth programs across the country.
The shoes auctioned off by Dinwiddie in honor of Hussle, who incidentally attended the same elementary school, are just one example of his self-endorsed sneaker brand’s charitable business model. Through K8IROS, Dinwiddie designs, wears and then auctions off his game-worn sneakers after every game to raise money for various youth charities.
"The auction for the game-worn shoe is purely a charity thing," Dinwiddie states. "My family has a history in philanthropy, and I want to continue that legacy. Instead of holding all 82 (shoes), I want to do something special to get people involved and support our charity."
Dinwiddie also sells his shoes on the retail market, donating a portion of sales to charity. Kicking off the brand before the 2018 NBA season, Dinwiddie has honored everyone from Bruce Lee to Beyoncé with his sneakers, even coordinating many of his designs with the city where he is playing.
Launching his own brand has given the former NBA D-League player and entrepreneur full creative control over his product as well as an outlet to give back. Dinwiddie’s innovative business approach serves as an inspiring example for both athletes and non-athletes alike that you can achieve both purpose and profit in your career pursuits.