Chicago Bulls’ Korver T’d up
Kyle Korver talks about his designer t-shirt line Seer Outfitters. Sales of the shirts benefit his foundation. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 30, 2011 12:22AM
Sharp-shooting Chicago Bulls guard Kyle Korver has his sights set on helping people in the Chicago area.
He’s hoping to T up the entire Chicago metropolitan area.
That’s not a T for technical foul, though, but for the T-shirts the three-point specialist designs for his label, Seer Outfitters.
Korver would love for you to wear one. Or more. And tell your friends to buy a few. And gift a few.
It’s not that the Glencoe resident advocates conspicuous consumption. Rather the opposite.
The Glencoe resident’s designer T’s (he is putting to use the visual communication degree he received from Creighton University) fund his foundation, KKF. The philanthropic organization has put down roots in each of the four cities where he has played: Omaha, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, and now Chicago.
While the NBA and his day job help create a stage for Korver to publicize his projects, he learned to volunteer from his family. Korver comes from a long line of community philanthropists — his grandfather, father and uncle started Looking Good, a group of 300 volunteers who set out each Saturday to help clean up their hometown of Paramount, Calif.
“I painted over the same wall each Saturday,” he said over a recent lunch at Jerry’s in Winnetka. “And one day we came back and there wasn’t graffiti on it. It’s remarkable how much that changed me.”
The ability to change a community over time stuck with Korver. But as with anything, change can require a bit of currency. And that’s where his brother, Klayton, 26, comes in.
Klayton mans the business side of Seer Outfitters, which includes being the body for the brand.
“I’m the billboard,” he said. “They’re soft and comfortable shirts. And I wear them every day.”
You would think I’d have all the shirts,” Kyle countered. “But I don’t. Yet.”
The younger Korver helped secure a pop-up shop at Block 37 to raise awareness of the brand and the foundation, and to sell a few shirts in the process.
“I happened to get out there and help make others aware of the line,” Klayton said. “It was actually a kiosk, but ‘pop-up’ just sounds better, doesn’t it?”
All proceeds from Seer Outfitters’ sales fund KKF service projects. The Salt Lake City arm of his foundation is a nonprofit construction company, which he formed after meeting “an incredible carpenter.” Kyle and Klayton volunteered to help build an addition on a house, but realized in fairly short order the two were more equipped to help in ways that didn’t require proficiency with a hammer and nails.
“It was too much for us,” Klayton said. “We were completely in over our heads.”
The experience helped KKF stake the carpenter so he could continue volunteering his skills to those in need.
“You have to do what you can to help,” Kyle said. “Everyone has different gifts. What I can do is to help people do their things.”
Ramping up efforts
A chance meeting with Miss Wheelchair USA cemented their mission in Salt Lake City — building ramps for those in wheelchairs.
“Insurance doesn’t cover the cost of a ramp for your house, and they can run upwards of $5,000,” Kyle said. “We’re not ramp builders, nor are we trying to be. But our guy can frame out a ramp in 45 minutes.
“I never thought of [those in wheelchairs] it as a concern. Before that time, the only thing I tried to do on ramps were wheelies. But then we met that person, and it’s clearly God connecting us with people who have gifts.”
KKF hasn’t committed to a Chicago charity yet. But they have made inroads at Brown Elementary School, the grade school closest to the United Center.
Those looking to stand apart from the crowd, while helping the Korver Foundation, can purchase a shirt, or seven, at seeroutfitters.com.
The company carries both men’s and women’s shirts, with two hoodies. Prices range from $14 to $25.