Meet Brianè Miller, a Grizzlies equipment assistant — LeBron James gave her his game-worn shoes
‘LeBron said, ‘You’re a hard worker and I appreciate you.’ He gave me his shoes and I broke down.’
Brianè Miller recently updated her bio on Instagram. It now reads: “12/8/2018 Changed my life forever 🐐.”
That date is when she experienced a moment she’ll never forget. With less than two minutes left in the Los Angeles Lakers’ Dec. 8 matchup on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies, LeBron James took off his sneakers, an all-purple pair of player-exclusive Nike LeBron 16s. The shoes wouldn’t make it back to the locker room with him. Instead, James signed and gave them to Miller, a 23-year-old equipment assistant for the Grizzlies who works by the visiting team’s bench during games.
The gesture marks a recent trend of NBA players giving fans game-worn pairs of shoes off their feet after games. But for James, this special moment held a little more weight because it was years in the making. “Every year I’ve come here, she’s always worn a very exclusive pair of my shoes, and I’ve always noticed it but never said anything to her,” he said of Miller after the game. “Tonight I said something to her for the first time, and she was like, ‘Yeah … I’ve always been Team LeBron. Always.’ So she got a pair of LeBrons.”
LeBron gave his game-work shoes to a woman who works for the Grizzlies. He hugged her late in the fourth quarter and she was very emotional. Here’s why. pic.twitter.com/VZVBheKxhi
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) December 9, 2018
The Undefeated caught up with Miller, who has now reportedly received a $100,000 offer for the shoes. She relived the moment that brought her to tears, detailed her longtime love for James and shared what exactly she plans to do with the King’s shoes.
Take us back to that moment — how did it unfold?
Like LeBron said, I’ve been wearing his shoes for a long time. I’m very loyal to his sneaker game. And I guess he always noticed and never really said nothing to me … but I’m real good friends with his bodyguard. I was taking warmups to the back, and his bodyguard came and was like, ‘Hey, come over here.’ I’m thinking something was wrong because I supervise the away side … but they surprised me with the shoes. LeBron said, ‘You’re a hard worker and I appreciate you.’ He gave me his shoes and I broke down. He hugged me, then his bodyguard hugged me. And I took the shoes to the back.
What was going through your mind when LeBron handed you the shoes?
Honestly, I saw him take his shoes off and thought his feet were hurting, so I was going to take them to the back for him. His bodyguard said, ‘These are for you.’ In my head, I’m like, ‘Those are for me!?!’ … It was a dream come true … an amazing moment.
Did you say anything in response to him?
‘Thank you.’ And I was just crying.
How long have you been working for the Grizzlies?
I’ve been with the Grizzlies for three years. My first season, I worked at the team store. This is my second season in basketball operations … working as an assistant to the Grizzlies’ equipment manager.
How long have you been a LeBron fan?
I was actually a huge Tony Parker fan because I’m a native of Paris, France. Tony was all I knew, then LeBron came out of high school and I was peeping him. My family was talking about him a lot. And his rookie year with the Cavs, I actually made a plaque for him.
Basically with his rookie card, and pictures of him from the combine. I made it for him and kept it. I thought if I met him one day, I’d have him sign it. … I actually still have it. … I’ve been a LeBron fan for a minute, I ain’t gonna lie to you.
What do you like most about him as a player?
He’s really a great role model to look up to, especially nowadays. If you see him on the court, you would think with all the publicity he gets and all the money he has that he’s just cocky and doesn’t care. But I’ve never seen an athlete doing so much off the court, building a school and stuff like that. I just really admire him as a person, him as a black male. He’s really setting the tone. … I feel like a lot of people should follow his footsteps because a lot of people in his situation don’t really care about those who are less fortunate. … I love how he puts his family first and takes care of everybody else around him. He just tries to make everybody around him better, and I love it. … He’s successful, smart, manages his money and makes investments. I’m learning everything from him. It’s pretty cool to see that in an athlete these days, because you don’t see that a lot.
How many games have you worked when LeBron has come to Memphis to play?
I worked on the home side when I first started. I just now finally started working on the away side. So I know he’s seen me like two good times on the away side and actually been able to see my shoes. I don’t know how many shoes he’s seen me in, honestly. But I’ve been wearing his shoes for a minute since I’ve been working there. He’s probably seen more than I realize. I just didn’t know he was paying attention.
Which shoes do you think caught his attention?
I know he’s seen me in the Kith 15s. And Saturday, he saw me in the John Elliotts. … But he might’ve seen me in his older shoes, when he came with the Cavs … you never know. Like he said, he’s never really said anything to me. He’s pretty quiet and chill.
How many pairs of LeBrons do you own?
I have so many … probably between 20 and 30. I try to get every edition he comes out with. And I’ve balled in a good amount of them. … I try to get his collaborations a lot because I like him being able to have creativity with designers. I think that’s pretty cool.
What’s your favorite all-time pair?
That’s so hard. I really admire his ‘Long Live the King’ 15s … but as of right now, I’d have to say my favorites are the ‘What The’ 16s. I have a pair of those, and I love them. … I love his whole 16 line. That’s the best line he’s done so far.
What are you gonna do with the pair he gave you?
They’re gonna be in a glass case. They’re gonna sit on top of my shoe collection inside my closet. I’m not letting those go for anything. They’re gonna be locked up, for sure. … I had them in a safe, but I just ordered a glass case so nobody could touch them.
Has anyone asked you about the shoes?
I’ve been offered money for the shoes, and I didn’t think twice about it. It’s priceless.
Yes. A lot of money … enough where I wouldn’t have to work again if I didn’t want to. … Their thing was they’re authentic — they saw them come out of LeBron’s hands. … I’ve gotten two offers … but at the end of the day, it’s not worth it. You can’t put a price on those.
If you could deliver a message to LeBron, what would it be?
I’m definitely grateful for him. It’s just truly a blessing. I could never thank him enough for the shoes and the gratitude. He’s appreciated, for sure — more than he knows.