AKRON, Ohio — "Just a kid from Akron."
It's a phrase coined by Akron native and Los Angeles Lakers star, LeBron James, showcasing his humility and honoring his roots. But for those coming up behind James, the phrase serves as motivation. It's proof that no matter your struggles, your wildest dreams are possible.
This Friday, a longtime dream of John Dean, Akron native and CEO of Renowned, a casual, street-wear line, will come true. Dean's brand has joined forces with James' apparel label, UNKNWN, to release a benefit t-shirt.
"It’s always been a goal of mine to be, you know, obviously within their system just because I have my aspirations of being a big brand. So it’s like, if I can get in a big store, you know, it’s just kind of legitimizing myself in a way," explains Dean.
The shirt entitled "Hands to the Sky" features blue shadow-like hands reaching for the phase "Embrace The Unknwn" on the front and "Move Towards Your Fears" on the back, both in bold white fonts on a black cotton tee.
“To put it simply, working with UNKNWN is a dream once manifested many years ago. To be able to continue to create pieces that amplify Black lives and Black voices has been and will always continue to be the core of who we are," the Renowned brand said in a press release. "For us, “Embrace The UNKNWN” - “Move Towards Your Fears” manifested seamlessly because we want to encourage our consumers to step out of their comfort zone and become more comfortable exploring those uncomfortable conversations."
The tee was originally expected to be available online in an exclusive pre-sale release, beginning Friday, August 28 at 12:01 a.m. However, due to the NBA's strike in response to the shooting of Jacob Black at the hands of a Wisconsin police officer, the two companies have decided to delay the release until Tuesday, September 1. But, don't delay in securing your purchase, the shirt will be available for only 72-hours.
All the proceeds from the shirt will benefit the LeBron James Family Foundation.
"Being a kid from Ohio, it’s specific. I want to give back specifically to that kid, just like me, who may have gone through certain situations that I’ve gone through," explained Dean. "Like I just want to make sure it’s someone like me, who is benefiting from a project like this.
3News' Digital Content Producer Kierra Cotton caught up with Dean ahead of the t-shirt's release. You can watch their full interview in the player above.
PHOTOS: Renowned x UNKNWN x LBJ Foundation Collaboration