LA Clippers guard Jason Preston was introduced to basketball by his mother at the age of four. The two bonded over her love for the game, and she helped him grow as a player by taking him to games and helping him train. At the age of 11, Preston learned his mother had lung cancer, and at 15, he lost her to the disease.
Every year, Nike helps Kevin Durant honor his late Aunt Pearl, who also passed away from lung cancer, by releasing 'KD Aunt Pearl' shoes. Jason Preston and the Clippers have partnered with ShuPlug, who went on the hunt to locate pairs for Preston.
ShuPlug was able to find the KD 8, 11, and 13's, and have sent them to Preston. The Clippers guard plans on wearing the shoes to practices and games throughout November for Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Preston wants to use this platform to honor his mother, while also bringing light and hope to others who have lost a loved one, specifically to lung cancer.
When asked what sparked this idea, Preston said, "Actually it was my girlfriend's idea. And I thought it was brilliant, you know, just another way I can honor her. While I'm playing, every time I've got my shoes, I can always be thinking about her."
With his mother having introduced him to the game of basketball, Preston credits her not only for showing him the game, but helping him appreciate it in its entirety.
"Growing up, I'd always be around the house, playing and dribbling around and going to the park, trying to play as much as possible, but she really taught me to sit down and watch and learn from pros," Preston said. "And that carries into today, like I'm watching basketball all the time... So, just that appreciation for all aspects of basketball, not just playing."
Preston said the way he analyzes basketball can be credited to the way his mom showed him the game. A playmaker on the court, Preston said his style of play can absolutely be traced back to his mother's emphasis on becoming a student of the game. Being able to honor her while on the court is something that is incredibly special to him.
Having lost his mother to lung cancer at a young age, Preston knows how damaging the disease can be. His message to those in the fight, is to continue staying strong, just like his mother did for years.
"Just stay strong and fight through, like my mom was doing for years," Preston said. "I'm very thankful she's in a better place, and doesn't have to go through what she went through down here, but just stay strong and fight through."