Kyree Bethel knew one of his students dreamed of lacing up a pair of Air Jordans. But he knew Justin Barnes might never be able to afford the pricey sneakers.
So the Goldsboro High School math teacher stepped up.
Bethel’s act of kindness, caught on video, went viral and caught the attention of Michael Jordan’s international brand.
Bethel gifted a pair of Air Jordan sneakers from his personal collection to a student, Justin Barnes, a senior at GHS, who “has always dreamed about lacing up those particular sneakers,” according to The GHS Pride student publication. The two wear the same size-12 shoes.
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Justin’s excitement and gratitude touched fellow students and Bethel, too.
“It was unreal. It leaves you speechless,” Bethel told the Pride. “It really was touching. I couldn’t look at him but for so long because I didn’t want to tear up.”
And it wasn’t just the school and community that were impressed by Bethel’s gift.
The video posted on Twitter had been watched nearly 20,000 times as of Wednesday afternoon.
“Justin’s a good guy, man. I know despite everything he goes through, he still comes to school with a smile on his face,” Bethel told the Pride. “He comes into my room every day and he always asks me about my shoes.”
Bethel’s no stranger to basketball footwear. He’s known as the “guy who can ball” at school, and the one with a collection of Jordan-brand sneakers.
“My main thing is wanting to make a difference in somebody’s life, so I figured he can have his first pair of Jordans from me,” Bethel said. “I know that’s something that kid will never forget. He’ll remember this for the rest of his life.”
Bethel, a 6-foot 2-inch guard from Fayetteville played college ball for the Chowan University Hawks in Murfreesboro from 2011-15, according to the school’s website. He entered the NBA draft in 2015 and is an unrestricted free agent.