Tallest U.S. man gets $25K Reebok sneakers
by Molly Geary, USA TODAY Sports
Basketball coaches normally salivate at the idea of having a player over seven-foot tall. The bigger the better, right?
Not for 7-foot-8 Igor Vovkovinskiy, the tallest man in America.
“I tried basketball,” Vovkovinskiy told Timberwolves.com. “But after 5th or 6th grade, nobody could make shoes for me. I had to stop playing.”
It got so bad for Vovkovinskiy that he had 16 foot surgeries in six years, which forced him into a total of three years of bed rest. But that didn’t change the fact that there were no shoes out there to fit his roughly size 24 feet, making it incredibly difficult for him to even venture two blocks away from his home.
And it was flat-out impossible for Vovkovinskiy, a Minnesota Timberwolves fan, to sit in the seats at Target Center to watch his favorite NBA team play. So last April, Minnesota did something memorable for its biggest fan and invited Vovkovinskiy to sit in a special suite that had been altered to fit his massive frame to watch the game.
It had solved one problem with his height, but he was still suffering wearing his worn-down leather shoes day after day. He was told it would cost $16,000 to go through the process of getting a custom pair of shoes, and his letters to medical insurers asking for help were ignored.
So after some encouragement from friends, he took to a Facebook campaign to raise the money. The response was so overwhelming that he quickly raised almost $40,000, but then he got another surprise.
Reebok came forward and told him they would create three pairs of custom-made sneakers for Vovkovinskiy, which he finally received on Thursday. The shoes, which are said to be valued at $25,000, were molded exactly for him after Reebok took imprints and precise scans of his feet. Each pair has the name “Igor” printed in bold letters on the bottom, and one pair even comes in Timberwolves colors.
Vovkovinskiy called the shoes “life-changing,” and said they “feel like a cushion inside.”
“It’s an enormous opportunity now to start doing things I haven’t … [For more on Tallest U.S. man gets $25K sneakers from Reebok (PHOTOS), click here.]