Jackson State QB Shedeur Sanders Reps Fallen Rapper Young Dolph With Custom Cleats
The 19-year-old football star chose to pay tribute to the Memphis rapper shortly after he was murdered last month.
December 01, 2021 at 5:04 pm
Since his time as a high school athlete, Shedeur Sanders has worked with two designers–Dez Zambrano and Mohammed Gafar–to create custom cleats.
While most of the designs were centered on repping JSU, Sanders wanted to use one pair of cleats to pay tribute to fallen rapper Young Dolph, with who he was friends. As Blavity previously reported, Young Dolph was tragically killed last month inside of a Memphis cookie bakery.
"I had a good friendship with him," Sanders said about Young Dolph. "Me and him had a different kind of relationship. He really talked to me about life in general. We just clicked. I don't think relationships are built over what you have in common; it's the energy when you're around them. It just felt natural."
To honor his dearly departed friend, Sanders "immediately reached out" to Gafar to have the "On the River" rapper featured on his custom shoes.
The final product boasted a grey and navy color scheme alongside Young Dolph's portrait, a dollar sign, and the word "Legendary."
"The color scheme came from matching the jersey, mainly gray with highlights of navy blue," Gafar explained. "I wanted the same balance of color you see on the uniforms on the shoe. I basically searched online for a picture that represented him the best."
"That image I found was straight on and detailed, and I knew it would be good," he continued. "I wanted the artist on the outside [of the cleat], so it would get the most views, and I wanted legendary on the side of Dolph because it pertains to him because so many people loved him and loved his music."
Sanders ultimately rocked the Young Dolph-themed cleats during JSU's matchup against Alcorn State–the game that earned the Tigers a spot at the upcoming Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship match against Prairie View A&M.
He also spoke about the shoes and touched on the pair's bond shortly after the Nov. 20 matchup.
Shedeur Sanders rocked a pair of Young Dolph themed cleats in Saturday’s win. He and Coach Prime explain the quarterback’s connection with the rapper. pic.twitter.com/hYBkMsIGTz
— Khari Thompson (@_KhariThompson) November 20, 2021
Aside from this custom Young Dolph-themed cleat, Gafar also designed a pair of eye-catching, all-red shoes that featured JSU's logo, the words "Grown" and "Legendary," and Shedeur Sanders' insignia–a dollar sign squared.
As for Zambrano, his creations for Sanders include a stunning pair of black, red, and grey shoes that portrayed a Tiger on the side.
Additionally, Zambrano also designed various navy-and-white shoes for Sanders that matched Jackson State's official school colors.
"The first part of the year, we wanted to blend in with the color scheme, Zambrano explained. "We didn't want to go overly loud or overly crazy because we wanted to ease in and amplify the season as it went along. We were color matching more than anything, keeping it clean and crispy."
"As [the] season progressed, we wanted the artwork to progress," he added. "As the season has progressed, the cleats have become more artistic and more outside the lines."
It's currently unclear what design Sanders will boast at the SWAC championship on Dec. 4.