PORTLAND, Ore. — A young man with Milwaukee roots is now living his dream of designing for one of the world's largest sporting brands.
Before Andrew Little landed at Nike's headquarter in Oregon, it started with his love for drawing and his parents nurturing a budding artist.
"They would put me in art classes when I was, like, really young," remembers designer Andrew Little. "You know, something that I just really enjoy doing. So, I just stuck to it throughout high school and all while playing sports."
Growing up, Little loved basketball and golf. But his attention turned to sport shoe designing when a college recruiter visited his art class at Nicolet High School.
"She put a shoe rendering on the board on the presentation and she said it was done by this student that went to CCS and he was now the design director at Jordan, and he was Black and I kind of was just like I never had seen that before," said Little.
That moment opened a world of possibilities that lead Little to Nike's campus in Oregon.
"So, I was an intern for three months and that was basically just like a three-month job interview," recalls Little. "After the three months, I was luckily hired."
Since joining the Nike team, Little has designed a number of tennis shoes you can find online and in stores.
"I see people in the airport when I'm traveling wearing my shoes...so it's pretty surreal - it's pretty cool", said Little.
And he has a few high-profile fans to sport his designs.
"Yeah, most recently Lebron [James] actually wore a pair of shoes that I designed in the finals for game 5," said Little.
Last year Little, who once was a ball boy for the Bucks, got the chance to design his home team's city jersey.
"So, it's really about like how do you storytelling. How do you take elements of Milwaukee that you know people are familiar with and really, you know, explain that and explore that in a jersey for the city? So, it was a huge honor."
As our country is faced with addressing racial injustice... Little believes brand responsibility will be more and more important.
"Nike that relies so much on the people in the communities that make them great and that make their product really stand out. And so, I'm just happy to be a part of it. You know, the Nike brand," Little said.
Little is living his dream as a sports apparel designer and he hopes that he can inspire other youth to do the same.
"If you don't recognize other people in that space, then how will you be able to, you know, attach yourself to that vision," said Little.
This story was first published by Shannon Sims at TMJ4 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.