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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Riley Kids help design game shoes for IU alum Cody Zeller

Indiana University alum Cody Zeller will be wearing a very special pair of shoes on the court at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Tuesday night.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - We all knew there would be big shoes to fill when Cody Zeller left Indiana University and moved on to the NBA's Charlotte Hornets.

"What size are those?" Eyewitness News reporter Kevin Rader asked Zeller while looking at his shoes during an exclusive one-on-one interview after practice Tuesday morning at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

"Sixteen," he replied.

Jack Moon from Plainfield got to draw part of the design for Cody Zeller's shoes. (WTHR photo/Kevin Rader)

"I told them there is a lot of real estate on these shoes," Zeller laughed. "A lot of free room for drawing."

So he asked the kids at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health to use his shoes as a canvas - and they did.

"We got a basketball hoop, a barn on the side, race car and then the Riley Red Wagon," he pointed out on one of his shoes.

Twelve-year-old Jack Moon, a Riley Hospital cancer survivor from Plainfield, is one of the honored artists. He drew the hoop.

"I drew a picture of (the) Indiana outline, because Cody Zeller went to school in Indiana and that because he plays basketball," he said pointing to the basketball hoop design he drew.

Now Jack and all the other kids who helped design the shoe will have a meet and greet with Cody prior to Tuesday night's game with the Pacers at the Fieldhouse.

For the record, we should tell you Cody designed the other shoe himself, but that may be obvious.

"The candy stripes. The Indiana logo. A little barn with a hoop on it and a crazy amount of detail on it. The artist is really impressive how he could do all that and the 'Welcome to Indiana' and the 'Hoosiers' movie," he showed us with pride.


Zeller actually first pitched the idea just last month.

"He wanted to give back to Riley Kids. Riley is one of his priority projects. He talked through us his vision to put Riley child art on his shoes for tonight's game," said Jason Mueller, assistant vice president of communication for Riley Children's Foundation.

After Tuesday's game, Zeller will donate the shoes to Riley for auction.

"He's our kind of person. Our kind of celebrity. He doesn't forget where he came from. Understanding the journey kids here face when they are patients at Riley," Mueller said.

"It's fun to be back home. Fun to give back to Riley. The shoes turned out really cool as well," Zeller said.

His shoes are still hard to fill.