SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - They are among the most iconic sneakers in the world: the Air Jordan. And today, a new version was unveiled, honoring a San Jose teacher.
The fanfare surrounding their launch would have been fit for any star athlete. But Gina Wright is no athlete.
"They go, 'We're going to get you your own shoe.' And my first response was, 'Oh right sure.' I didn't believe them," Wright said. %INLINE%
Ms. Wright is a beloved teacher at Santee Elementary in San Jose. She is also what's known as a "sneaker head," a collector of cool kicks.
"When I started hearing kids say oh you're fresh Ms. Wright. That's dope. You're hot. Your feet are on fire. I had to buy me an Urban Dictionary, because I didn't know what they were talking about."
As it turns out, the shoes, led to conversations, which led to connections with her students.
Angel Lopez, one of her students says, "She tries to get us to be a good student and have a good life."
Another student, Judith Hernandez adds, "If you think about it... she's kind of like old, getting old. But with her getting old and still wearing those shoes, kids still want to like talk to her."
The kids weren't the only ones to take notice. So did Shoe Palace, where Gina did most of her shopping.
They saw her Instagram page and her 6,000 followers.
Then they went to the Jordan Brand with an idea: to create a shoe in Gina's honor.
Jordan hadn't done anything like it before.
Greg Dube of Jordan Brand says, "Outside of an athlete. No."
And so they collaborated, creating the SP Gina. It's black, sparkly and with Gina's picture on the insole.
John Mersho, VP of Shoe Palace says, "She's a school teacher. It's not an athlete. It's not a celebrity. It's someone that's in our community, helping our community. It means a lot to us."
It means a lot to Gina too. She hopes whoever wears the SP Gina Air Jordans, will do it in support of education.
"Pushing teachers, pushing community service and believing in me," she said.
At Santee Elementary, they already do believe in Ms. Wright.
"They're all wearing my t-shirt. I couldn't believe it. Look at this! This is unbelievable. It's an honor," she said.
The SP Gina goes for $180 at Shoe Palace. Part of the proceeds come back to Santee Elementary for things like a new library and new basketball courts.