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Glenn Robinson III to honor young fan battling cancer

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Brody Stephens’ dream was to sign autographs for fans. Now, his name will be proudly displayed on Glenn Robinson III’s shoes for all to see.

Indiana Pacers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Whether it be an inspirational verse, motivational message, statement against social injustice, or memorial tribute, the available blank space on shoes has become a popular vehicle for NBA players to express themselves as fathers, sons, friends, activists, and community members. Next season, the words inscribed on Glenn Robinson III’s shoes will fit within the latter category, as he honors, Brody Stephens, a seven-year-old boy battling leukemia for a second time.

“This year every game that I play your name will be on my shoes, just as a reminder to the world that you would be in my position as a professional basketball player if it wasn't for cancer. Love you lil bro!” Robinson III promised the young fan on Instagram.

The 6-foot-7 wing describes Stephens, who he met a few months ago free of cameras, as a “stud basketball player” with high hopes of one day becoming a recognizable professional athlete. In order to help him fulfill his dream as well as raise money to help pay for his medical expenses as he undergoes treatment at Riley Children’s Hospital, J&J All-Star Sportscards Shows arranged a special autograph signing for Stephens with his new friend, Glenn Robinson III, right by his side.

“One of Brody's dreams was to sign autographs so today we met up and he sat at the same table as me at his appearance as we signed for all his supporters and fans (btw he has been working on his signature and it's better then mine ).” Robinson III wrote on Instagram. “Today meant so much to me and you truly don't know the impact that you have on so many others. You're in my prayers as you go into surgery next week so you can continue to fight! I want to thank you for making an impact on my life and so many others.. I look up to you and want you to know (you’re) my hero Brody Stephens.”

In what could be perceived as a poignant reversal of roles between that of a seven-year-old aspiring athlete and a professional basketball player, it is Glenn Robinson III doing the idolizing. As he wrote in his introduction to the above caption, words may not be able to adequately describe how much it means for the reserve wing to “give back” and “help others,” but they can pay well-deserving homage to the bravery of Brody Stephens. For 82 games, the name on Robinson III’s shoes will serve as an ever-present reminder of the private battle a young boy is waging against an opponent far more formidable than any the Indiana Pacers will see on the court next season.