GOODRICH, MI – How tall are you? 6ft-10.
You play basketball? No.
Do you play soccer? Yes.
Eric Kilburn Jr. have this conversation with a stranger three times a week.
The answers come to him like “muscle memory,” he said.
It got so bad that the 14-year-old thought of making business cards to give to anyone who approached him to talk about his stature.
A freshman at Goodrich High School, Kilburn Jr. it overlooks the rest of its class at nearly seven feet tall.
Being that size as a footballer doesn’t come without its limitations.
While doctors expect him to continue growing for at least another two years, Kilburn Jr. faces an immediate dilemma when it comes to footwear.
A family friend struck gold in Arizona when she found six pairs of size 22 basketball shoes – the same ones that were made for marginal NBA player Tacko Fall (who measures 2.10 meters) – in a Nike store about a mile away. year ago.
Those size 22 shoes are getting tighter by the day for Kilburn Jr., who has been at the heart of his family’s mission to find shoes that fit the young man.
His parents, Eric Sr. and Rebecca, are at a point where they feel they’ve exhausted all options. While it wasn’t their first choice, the family felt it was time to scramble to find suitable shoes for the public.
Kilburn Jr.’s size 22 yellow pair, which he calls the “Banana 11”, have been professionally stretched.
He is constantly dealing with blisters on both of his feet. Not long ago, he completely removed both of his large toenails to prevent repeated ingrown toenails.
Size 23 or 24 shoes, or people who can do those sizes, are nowhere to be found.
Kilburn Jr’s feet were measured by an orthopedic specialist, and the family, in just the past two weeks, found an option for a custom-made pair of shoes that would cost upwards of $1,500.
For an everyday pair and a nicer pair in a size 23 or 24, the family would be looking at an expense of upwards of $3,000.
Rebecca and Eric Sr. spent months on the phone with major shoe companies like Nike, Adidas and Reebok to no avail. Often, they weren’t even pointed in the right direction.
It was the smaller shoe companies that were at least willing to solve problems with the family.
Nike has told them that unless their child is a professional athlete, the company cannot help them, Rebecca said. An Adidas customer service rep told them their only chance is to go viral.
Such responses did not go down well with the parents of a teenager who may soon run out of shoes.
kilburn jr. haven’t had a pair of boots in years. To take it a step further, he plays defensively without cleats.
His football helmet is a special Schutt F7 because it’s the only company that makes his size. Eric Sr. even thought her son’s shoulder pads looked a little small this season.
Although his size gives him some advantage, Kilburn Jr. is also playing at a disadvantage to other players who have traction on the field. He is still being blocked by three forwards despite having flat soles.
The rookie played in three games before suffering a sprained ankle that ruled him out for the rest of the season. He is still recovering from that injury on an extended timeline.
It may be too soon to decide, but Kilburn Jr. sees himself pursuing business and sports after graduation. He recently started forging as a hobby with his grandfather and noticed some entrepreneurial ideas as he got older.
It took some time to realize its one size fits all, said Kilburn Jr.
Her parents asked her permission to go public with their quest to find suitable shoes.
kilburn jr. granted – for one simple reason.
“I just want shoes,” he said. “There is nothing else behind it. I just need shoes because when they grow up I won’t have anything to wear – no sandals, no crocodiles, nothing.”
Kilburn Jr., also known as “Big E”, showed maturity when discussing the process of adapting to his size.
“It was a strange experience realizing like, ‘Oh, I’m going to be stuck like this forever.’ Like I never stopped seeing the top of the store shelves,” said Kilburn Jr. “I will never stop seeing the top of people’s heads wherever I go. He kind of sat with me and calmed down a bit after realizing I was going to be so tall. … I was completely fine with that.
His parents are concerned that his size may be getting in the way of his ability to live a normal life and be a normal teenager.
kilburn jr. has been in the same school district throughout his life, but has not been completely immune to bullying and criticism from other students.
There haven’t been any recent incidents, but there’s always someone out there who will annoy you, said Kilburn Jr.
“There are only a few people who can be absolutely mean for no reason,” he said. “And there are some people who are really nice.”
The Kilburns took their unique situation to the internet earlier this week when a family friend officially launched a GoFundMe campaign to pay $1,500 for custom shoes if they couldn’t find an alternative.
The family wants to find a shoemaker or company that can make Kilburn Jr. for the rest of life.
In an effort to bring more attention to the matter, the family even called out the Guinness Book of World Records.
kilburn jr. might have a shot at entering Guinness World Records: The biggest foot of any teenager ever recorded was a 16-year-old wearing size 20 shoes in 2018. That’s a record he must have broken by now.
In a perfect world, Kilburn Jr. would have a pair of Jordan 4s. But those only go up to a size 14 or 15 on some full-size runs.
His size restrictions didn’t stop him from navigating the tennis aisle like any other teenager.
“I would kill to be wearing a pair of Jordans right now,” said Kilburn Jr.
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