MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Beyond the Grizzlies coming away with a win against the Sacramento Kings Sunday night, one 9-year-old middle Tennessee boy walked away with the gift and experience of a lifetime.
The Grizzlies’ star player Ja Morant saw Zander Carr in the stands and gifted him his not yet released Ja Nike 1’s. A now-viral video of Morant signing his signature shoes and giving them to Zander is capturing hearts across the country.
The boy was brought to tears interacting with his idol. Zander told us they were tears of joy as he was in disbelief.
We caught up with the Carr family Monday morning before they hit the road for their three-and-a-half-hour trip back home to Gallatin, Tennessee.
Zander had one word to describe his trip to Memphis.
“Amazing,” he said.
Tickets to Sunday night’s game were his ninth birthday present. The ultimate Grizzlies fan has been waiting since October for the trip.
“My whole family chipped in on tickets for him and here we were and we were like, ‘we’ve gotta make the coolest sign ever.’ He’s been talking about the JA 1s since we saw the press release like six months ago,” said Zander’s mother Krissi
Zander’s family made it early to warmups. He held up this sign and yelled for Ja for the 20 minutes he was allowed to before the game started. The gift and the interaction with Morant were well worth every second.
“He was like, ‘there’s just no need to cry little man,'” Zander said.
The experience left a lasting impact on Morant too.
“It’s a great thing to see. It leaves you speechless you know when you see someone that big a fan of you bust out and cry and it was even more crazy to see his mom crying as well,” he said.
Zander’s mom Krissi called the moments of interaction crucial.
“At the end of the day, the fans are a huge part of your success, and to do something like that and the thing is he gave him his shoes but just him looking at him and nodding and not just Ja but the other players, you have such an impact on these kids,” she said. “I don’t even know how to put into words the impact that these players have on my kids and just a fist bump, a nod, a smile.”
Zander is one of the few people with the shoes currently as reports say they’re set to be released in April of this year. Zander said he plans to keep the shoes in a special glass box he will cherish and keep forever.