LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As the University of Kentucky men's basketball team takes the court for their first exhibition games in the Bahamas, they are also paying tribute to the flood victims in Eastern Kentucky.
Lance Ware and Oscar Tshiebwe wore custom shoes in Wednesday evening's game that will be raffled off to raise money to support the victims. Lance Ware wore shoes depicting a Bahamian beach. Oscar Tshiebwe's shoes showed a Bahamian sunset and the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.
"Soon as it happened, first thing I thought was Oscar. I know Oscar loves Kentucky. He loves the fans. He loves everything about giving back," said Billy Hobbs, owner of True Blue Customs.
Hobbs has created several custom paint jobs for UK basketball and football players over the years.
"They want to represent where they're from or what's important to them," Hobbs said.
He has even painted custom shoes for Paul McCartney and Snoop Dogg when they played shows locally.
"It's cool seeing that stuff, you see it on that stage and these guys actually appreciate that. That's pretty awesome," he said.
When tornadoes devastated Western Kentucky, Hobbs teamed up with UK Football quarterback Will Levis to create a custom pair of cleats. They brought in more than $10,000 in a charity auction. Hobbs hopes these two pairs can raise even more money.
"With these two guys and with Kentucky basketball and those fans, I know the BBN will get behind us and there's no telling what it'll go for," he said.
Tshiebwe's shoes also have a small nod to what the team is aiming for this year - a "9" on the back, signifying the ninth national championship the team hopes to win.
Hobbs said he is working on plans to raffle off the shoes. He will announce them after the Bahamas trip.