Kid Killebrew: The Sneakerhead Superhero

Lawrence Killebrew lounges in a bathtub, covered by his vibrant collection of sneakers. Photographed by Andriana Marie.

By Kim Russell

In a world where kindness is often lost in the shuffle and smiles are looked at suspiciously, Lawrence Killebrew remains a breath of fresh air. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Killebrew is familiar with the tough exterior that develops when living in a major city. He is a comedian, which means you are guaranteed to leave his presence with a smile. Yet beyond his comedic career, Killebrew selflessly pours himself into his community as a pillar of positivity and a role model for the younger generation. He generously gives back to the children in his surrounding neighborhood, gifting pairs of Nikes or Jordans from his personal collection–and if you know anything about sneakerhead culture, this is no small feat. There is a special kind of joy that can only be achieved by a fresh pair of kicks. 

Sneakerheads know this phenomenon well, and Killebrew is an avid sneakerhead. However, he soon realized that shoes from his collection excluded children who didn’t wear his size. As a result, in 2019, he founded Killebrew Kicks, a non-profit organization that provides school children of all ages and shoe sizes with brand-new sneakers of their choosing. 

There is something nostalgic about opening a box of new sneakers: the anticipation as you peel back the paper, pluck them from the box, spin them around in your hand in admiration, and take in that fresh sneaker smell. He’s never forgotten the confidence he felt as a child when he stepped into a new pair. “I felt like a Superhero,” shared Killebrew, “especially when I played ball. It may sound like a small thing, but it can be a big feeling, particularly to underprivileged children.” He wanted to give that feeling to youth in need.

Killebrew Kicks began by awarding deserving students with quality kicks each marking period. Over the years, a small gesture has become a blessing for many families in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Camden, New Jersey, and Atlanta, Georgia. Killebrew always envisioned his organization reaching more communities on a larger scale, with an expansion that offered the youth diverse experiences and more opportunities to engage with their fellow peers. Finally, his endeavors are paying off.  

Captured at Killebrew Kicks Celebrity Basketball Game, Lawrence hosts giveaways for the non-profit organization.

Through his Nike endorsement and collaboration with athletic footwear and apparel retailer Downtown Locker Room (DTLR), Killebrew has offered 15 recipients a shopping spree with DTLR. He is still aiming to move the goal post higher to have 100 students selected for future shopping sprees. What better way to showcase their new wardrobe than at Killebrew Kicks’ annual celebrity basketball game held every April in honor of his birthday and the organization? Killebrew Kicks is his baby, created out of love; the participants are Killebrew’s family, and he is always excited to celebrate with them.  

He is committed to innovating new and fun ways to sustain the organization. For instance, he self-published a coloring book, “Kid Killebrew and His Super Kicks.” All of the proceeds go right back into the non-profit, allowing him to organize group outings for the youth, such as movie nights. In 2022 and 2023, Killebrew brought over 100 youth and their parents to see Wakanda Forever and The Little Mermaid.

Outside of his Birthday, Killebrew’s favorite day of the year is Nike’s Air Max Day, which he considers a holiday. This year, he was thrilled to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Air Max Day with a photo shoot featuring a small portion of his extensive collection. As Killebrew Kicks continues to expand and evolve, Lawrence Killebrew is persistent in his philanthropy. With the support of his fan base, he recognizes and rewards young people by running a sneaker giveaway in each city he tours. This way, he continues to expand the Kicks Family ever so slightly while transmuting his passion for footwear into a non-profit that actively resonates with inner-city youth. Whether you are a sneaker fan or not, it’s fair to say that sneaker culture has taken on a life of its own and will live on in communities across the globe.  

Sneakers may not be everything, but they connect many under the same umbrella of joy.  As Killebrew continues to pave his own path, he demonstrates to the youth that they can achieve their goals and do it in abundance while in the comfort of sneakers.  If there were such an accolade, Killebrew would be the winner of Air Max Day, but as it stands, he’s a winner each day that he shows up for the kids of Killebrew Kicks.