MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man was working at a bakery to help pay for college until he turned his desk at home into an art studio for athletic footwear.
Now demand for his customs cleats is soaring.
“I think it’s super important, pandemic or not, for people to focus on their dreams,” 23-year-old Anthony DeLucia said.
DeLucia is now dreaming inside his Long Island seaside bungalow.
“It might be a little corny for me to be showing you these text messages, but to me, it’s something that I’m super proud of,” DeLucia said, showing CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan his personal text messages from the superstars.
DeLucia custom paints cleats in all colors, designs and logos, and he got a break when pro-athlete New York Met Pete Alonso wore DeLucia’s shoes at the All-Star Game.
“Pete Alonso in the Home Run Derby last year actually won the entire contest in a pair of customs that I got to make,” said DeLucia.
DeLucia usually has the unadorned shoes delivered, follows the customer’s request, then works his magic. The custom paint is about $175.
DeLucia estimates he’s painted over 1,000 pairs of cleats and sneakers.
“I’m airbrushing a pair of cleats, I use a special acrylic paint. In between coats, I’ll use the heat gun. On average it takes about, I’d say like six to seven hours per pair,” said DeLucia.
And the world has now seen DeLucia’s handiwork. Besides Alonso, there’s also David Wright, Doc Gooden, Robinson Cano and the big guy from the New York Yankees.
“A cleat for Aaron Judge. He’s 6’8″, 280 pounds,” said DeLucia.
“What size is this?” asked McLogan.
“This is a size 17,” said DeLucia
DeLucia pursued business at Adelphi, but walking by the bay near his home, he knew his heart wasn’t in finance.
“If you focus on your passion and you focus on what you love, you’ll be successful,” said DeLucia.
His raw feelings spilled over when the New York Mets all wore his custom cleats during the 9/11 ceremonies in 2019.
“That was 39 pairs of cleats … To see their emotions and their gratitude for the cleats, absolutely incredible,” said DeLucia.
With the help and inspiration from big leaguers, DeLucia is jump-started on a new career path.
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