CINCINNATI — Magic happens in the home studio of former Mount Saint Joseph basketball star Devin Young, where he made custom shoes for many Bengals stars.
“When I started getting into Jordan (shoes) and stuff, once I got to high school, the prices for that stuff was way out of my price range… I took some of my old shoes and started painting on them,” Young said.
Sneaker culture is nothing new for the former NCAA big man.
“Sneaker heads and basketball go together, you want to be able to have the best shoes on the court,” Young said.
The only thing that rivals Young’s love of sneakers is his love for the Cincinnati Bengals. Last year, offensive lineman Quinton Spain became a fan of his.
“I was able to put together a pair of Air Forces he wore before the Chiefs game,” Young said.
As the Bengals’ spotlight grew, so did Young’s: Spain rocked a Devin Young original to his cleats during the Super Bowl.
“It was crazy, I remember before the game I was waiting for the pre-game photos, he was wearing them. It was really cool to see,” Young said.
After painting his way to the top, it was time to stay framed there. Young designed a custom pair to surprise star receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
“It was crazy to see them, I saw them a lot on Instagram,” Chase said. “It was cool that he made me a pair, put all my custom designs in them. My brand ‘Family Ties Forever’, my ‘Chosen One’ on them. It was really cool, he’s really creative. “
“He was crossing the line signing autographs (outside of OTAs), he grabbed the shoe without really thinking about it and I was like ‘woah woah, this is for you.’ And then he got really excited and everything,” Young said.
“I thought they were his, I thought he just wanted me to sign them. He was like, ‘no, they’re actually for you,'” Chase said.
Twitter did its job, then it returned to the drawing board for a typical day in Young’s post-basketball life.
He put together a pair for Bengals legend and Hall of Famer Anthony Muñoz.
“Great job,” Muñoz complimented upon receiving the new kicks.
Just like sport, the hardest part is the mental aspect.
“It’s a lot of pressure, the hardest part is coming up with the design,” Young said.
Next, Young was to work on shoes for Joe Mixon. Five days after completing the design, he surprised the Bengals star with his custom post-practice kicks.
“Kicks on fire, bay area, bet. I like it,” Mixon said
“Can we take a picture?” Young asked.
“Let’s take one,” Mixon said.
The kid who couldn’t afford cool shoes now makes the coolest shoes in the Bengals locker room.
Young’s hope is to one day create shoes for the whole team and especially for his favorite player, Joe Burrow.