BOSTON -- During Tuesday night's game against the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James twice sought out a 16-year-old who overcame severe brain damage to play two sports at a Boston-area high school.
In the second quarter of Cleveland's 89-77 win, the Celtics honored Aaron Miller, who the team said had undergone thousands of hours of surgery and physical therapy in efforts to overcome a medical condition doctors believed would paralyze him for life. Miller now competes on the basketball and golf teams at Newton North High School.
Coming out of a timeout after Miller was acknowledged with a standing ovation at half court at TD Garden, James sought Miller out courtside for a brief interaction. After the game, James returned and gave Miller his game-worn sneakers.
"I wasn't able to hear the whole story because I was in the game and Coach was drawing up the play," James said. "But I looked up by the JumboTron and I saw what [Miller had] been through and where he is now. I think the doctor said he would never walk again or talk again. ... I looked up there and right from there, it became so much more than basketball."
James, who had 24 points and seven rebounds, said he immediately noticed Miller was wearing a pair of Nike Zoom Soldier 8 Flyease, shoes specifically designed for people with disabilities.
"He also had my shoes on," James said. "I designed those shoes for kids with conditions where they can't tie their own shoestrings, and he had a pair on. Those shoes that he had on are made for kids that can't tie their own shoes, and it's just one strap. When I saw his story, it was just like, I don't know, I felt like I was a part of him. Just showing my respect, gave him my shoes. It was well received by him. It was not for you guys or the fans. It was for him."
The Celtics said Miller would use his experience at Tuesday's game to donate a pair of tickets that will benefit his high school.