Major League Baseball will hold its annual Players’ Weekend over the last weekend in August, and Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant is breaking out some special cleats and bats to raise money for a very important cause.
Bryant, who will sport the nickname “KB” on his jersey as the Cubs host the Washington Nationals over the weekend, partnered with Red Bull and the charity Wings for Life to design the new cleats and bats.
Wings for Life is a spinal cord research foundation, and Bryant has been affiliated with the group since coming into the league in 2015. Bryant’s close friend Cory Hahn, a former All-American high school baseball player, was paralyzed while sliding into second base when he played for Arizona State University in 2011.
Bryant will don three different pairs of cleats during Players’ Weekend and will use three different bats, all of which will pay homage to different parts of his life.
One set of cleats, featuring a baseball and the messages “Look Dad” and “Thank You Sue,” were designed by the artist Afrokilla as an homage to Bryant’s parents. Bryant’s father taught him how to hit, and set up a batting cage in the family’s Las Vegas garage.
Artist Blake Jones designed a pair of cleats that pays tribute to Bryant’s love of superheroes. The cleats feature the Wings for Life” logo and a pair of superheroes, and the bat that goes with the cleats features the appropriate message “POW!”
Finally, ELLO designed a pair of cleats for Bryant that were inspired by his childhood memories of playing Wiffle Ball in his hometown of Las Vegas. The cleats are, appropriately enough, loaded with the iconic colors of the Chicago flag as well, giving it a well-rounded tribute to Bryant’s baseball life.
After the conclusion of Players’ Weekend, the cleats will be auctioned off at the Wings for Life Golf Classic, which will be held Sept. 23. Fans can also bid on the items through a special website.