Nike

Blind Paralympian ID’s Air Jordan Sneakers by Touch

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Lex Gillette can identify every pair of Nike Air Jordan shoes just by touch.

And he has to do it by touch, because he can’t see.

“I lost my sight at a young age, 8 years old.”

Gillette, a blind world-class Paralympian, went viral identifying Air Jordans during the peak of "The Last Dance," the multi-part documentary centered on Michael Jordan's career and pursuit of greatness.

It sounds like Gillette could have something special there, and he does.

On his Twitter feed @LexGillette, Gillette started posting videos of him holding Air Jordans and saying exactly what make they are, and the posts went viral. The first video, posted on May 3, is nearing 162,000 views.

“My phone starts going crazy, getting all sorts of notifications. I have a screen reader on my phone (for the visually impaired) and every few minutes it’s blabbering, just talking, I was like this is insane," he said.

Insane, amazing, impressive is how you describe it, but how does he do it?

“Each design speaks its own language," he said.

While touching the shoe, Gillette begins to formulate a picture of what it is and then breaks it down part by part.

“I say, oh it has a logo in this area, the sole has this clunky feel, or the back has a Jordan logo or a Nike logo," he explained.

From the original in 1984 to the latest, Nike has released 34 editions of Air Jordans, so Gillette always has to keep his shoe game sharp.

He says the Jordan 11’s are his all time favorite. Of course, he loves to wear Jordan shoes and says he owns close to 50 pairs.

“I have them stacked up under my bed, categorized by numbers, so I have all of my one’s, two’s stacked up, three’s four’s, so forth. Then I also have a storage unit so I keep some in there.”

In addition to being a shoe specialist and a Paralympian, Gillette is a motivational speaker; His motto is “No need for sight when you have vision.”

“So much of life is people literally looking at this with their eyes, but there’s much more than just that visual aspect, which is why I am always talking about vision.  That’s the world that I have to live, it just comes naturally and pretty easy, I probably see things about the show that the average person doesn’t see.”

Lex Gillette and his Air Jordans taking flight without sight.

“Even a blind man can see that MJ is the G.O.A.T., come on!”

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