If you witnessed No. 14 seed UAB defeat No. 3 seed Iowa State on Thursday afternoon, you probably noticed that the Blazers wore mismatched shoes.
It isn’t some sort of fashion statement in an attempt to look cool. The mismatched shoe look is in place because UAB is hoping to raise awareness for pediatric cancer.
In a story from Alabama.com‘s Nick Birdsong from earlier in the season, the origin of the mismatched shoes for UAB is explained. After going on a European exhibition trip this summer, the Blazers faced a Spanish team with a player who wore two different colored sneakers. Liking the idea as a way to raise awareness for a cause, the Blazers decided to wear one green sneaker and one white sneaker while partnering with the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama.
The goal of the mismatched shoes is to raise awareness, and money, for pediatric cancer. UAB also played a special message during home games this season in the hopes of getting fans to donate to the cause.
UAB has experience helping pediatric cancer patients dating back to head coach Jerod Haase’s first year with the Blazers. The program adopted a young cancer patient named Elijah Serritt and the boy and his family have been a big part of the UAB program.
Birdsong explains the relationship between Seritt and UAB in his story:
Two years ago, during Haase’s first season at the helm, the Blazers adopted a young cancer patient named Elijah Seritt. Seritt and his family have been a source of encouragement to the team since.
Just 19 months old when he was first taken to the emergency room, Seritt has undergone 17 surgeries, including two brain surgeries as well as chemotherapy and two stem cell transplants since being diagnosed with medulloblastoma — a particularly aggressive form of cancer.
“Henry Ford talked about, ‘A business that only makes money is a poor business’ if that’s it’s sole purpose,” Haase said. “And I think if you’re a basketball program and your sole purpose is just to win games, you’re running a poor program. I think our guys are really bought in.”
Haase continued “They want to reach out to the community and this is something that does touch their heart with our relationship with Elijah. Obviously with the Children’s Hospital we feel like it’s a win-win situation.”
So when you see UAB take the floor in the Round of 32 on Saturday, now you’ll know that the team is out to raise awareness for pediatric cancer with their unusual sneaker fashion statement.