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OU men's basketball: Why Miles Reynolds gave his basketball shoes to middle schoolers

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Miles Reynolds at middle school

Miles Reynolds stands with kids at Irving Middle School after giving them his basketball shoes Wednesday, March 27. 

Miles Reynolds has over 100 pairs of basketball shoes. 

He can't pick a favorite pair — maybe his Jordan 11s or Jordan 3s — he can't decide which are better. This week, just a couple days after he and Oklahoma lost in the NCAA Tournament, Reynolds decided to give away 10 pairs of his shoes. He decided to give them to local Norman middle schools, Alcott Middle School and Irving Middle School. 

"Every school I've been to, I've always loved giving back," Reynolds said. "My parents really expressed an importance of giving back to the community and showing love to people that showed you love during the season." 

Despite only being at Oklahoma for one season, Reynolds quickly became one of the most beloved Sooners on this year's team. Fans adored Reynolds' enthusiasm and passion for the game. A graduate transfer, Reynolds came to OU in hopes of finally playing in the NCAA Tournament — a feat he hadn't accomplished at his previous two schools, Pacific and Saint Louis. 

After Oklahoma was defeated in the NCAA Tournament in the round of 32, a video of Reynolds crying while thanking OU went viral on Twitter. 

One of the people that saw that video was Conner Howard, a teacher and coach at Irving Middle School. So when Reynolds posted the next day he would be giving away some of shoes, Howard immediately reached out. 

Reynolds showed up to the school the next day.

"He was just a really down to earth guy," said Howard, who graduated from Oklahoma in 2018. "It was kind of surprising that he wanted to come and hangout and not rush to get of there."

Howard said Reynolds joined the kids in the cafeteria for lunch, hanging out with them before they had to go back to class. Reynolds also spoke with the principal and the basketball coaches. 

"Some of the kids were playing too cool for school, and others were absolutely fan-struck by this 6-foot-2 college athlete walking around with three pairs of $150 Jordans in his hands," Howard said. "He talked to them about social media, basketball and just random stuff. He wasn't just there to sign the shoes and hangout. He was there to meet and get to know the kids."

Howard raved about Reynolds' personality, saying he serves as a great role model for kids in the community.

"I told those kids, 'Miles, he's made it. He got his school paid for, this is what you all strive for. He's got a degree in finance, and he's going to make a life for himself,'" Howard said. "They were grateful for them and thought it was a really cool experience."

Reynolds' future is uncertain. He hopes to continue his basketball career professionally, but with his finance degree in hand, he says anything is possible.

But no matter what Reynolds decides to do, his small acts of kindness will take him, and OU, a long way. 

"I think it just speaks to the culture at OU and the athletics department," Howard said. "You look at all the athletes — football, basketball, whatever it is — and you see them always going out into the community and helping people. 

"A lot of colleges are either in big cities or college towns, and I think OU does a great job of being both. And Miles is a representative of that."

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I joined The Daily in the fall of 2016 as a sophomore. I've covered the soccer team, both men's and women's basketball, as well as the football team for the past two years. I have been the sports editor since spring 2018.

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