toronto teacher jordans

Toronto students surprise gym teacher with new Air Jordans

A local high school gym teacher is catapulting into the viral spotlight this week thanks to 25 of his students and a brand new pair of J's.

It all goes back to 1997, when Etobicoke School of the Arts phys-ed teacher David Blakey got some black and red Air Jordan 13s.

The shoes, which he bought to begin his teaching career with, lasted nearly 20 years and became famous around school in their own right. Younger students would often ask to wear them, according to a recent interview, and Blakey obliged until, eventually, the soles fell right off.

With two kids of his own to buy Jordans for, Blakey couldn't afford to replace his iconic kicks—but his adoring students weren't having it.

So, for Christmas this year, an entire class of Grade 10 students came together for the purpose of not only buying the shoes, but finding the original retro "bred" style from 1997.

One of those students, Aidan Thomson, posted video footage of Blakey's reaction to the gift on Instagram late last week. It was picked up by popular local Instagram account 6ixbuzzTV and has since been viewed nearly 400,000 times there alone.

The rest, as they say, is internet history.

The two-part video post starts with Thomson, himself a major sneakerhead, reading a touching letter of tribute to Blakey as students hoot and holler around him.

Next, Blakey is seen unwrapping a gift as the students chant "Blakey! Blakey! Blakey!" and then holding up his new shoes for all to see. The students go wild as he puts the shoes on and once again start chanting his name while he shakes their hands and gives them hugs.

The whole scene is heartwarming enough to get even the Scroogiest of Grinches caught up in the holiday spirit.

"He's like a best friend to all of us," said Thomson on Friday to the CBC. "He plays basketball with us at lunchtime, helps us with our essays and other schoolwork, he even gives us space to work in the gym and honestly he's just a really nice guy."

"I wanted to give back to Mr. Blakey because he does so much for us."

Maybe the kids (who don't eat Tide Pods) are alright after all.

Lead photo by


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