CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland Cavaliers player Jeff Green is auctioning a pair of special edition Air Jordan shoes that commemorates his heart surgery, which was performed at the Cleveland Clinic five years ago.
Dr. Lars Svensson performed open-heart surgery on Green at the Cleveland Clinic in January 2012. Green, who was a member of the Boston Celtics at the time, was diagnosed with a dangerously enlarged valve to his aorta.
Green said it took several days for him to gather enough courage to look at himself. When he finally looked, he said he saw something he was not used to seeing.
"I was shirtless, just like I'd been a thousand other times during pickup games or practices. But, this time, I didn't recognize the body I was looking at," Green said.
The surgery left Green with a nine-inch long, jagged scar running across his chest. He also had three sewn-up holes near his abdomen where tubes pumped fluids into his body during the surgery.
To commemorate the surgery, Green is auctioning off a pair of Air Jordan XXXI shoes. The shoes are one of only two pairs that were created exclusively for him by the Jordan Brand, and feature imagery that reflects his scar and the initials of Green's surgeon Dr. Svensson. He hopes to raise awareness about his prior condition and raise funds to benefit the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
With extensive rehab and exercise, Green returned to the NBA courts after his surgery and is still playing professionally. He signed with the Cavaliers this past offseason and is on the roster for the upcoming 2017-18 season..