Forget about playing with new confidence, Mario Hezonja is playing with new kicks.
Hezonja, a.k.a Super Mario, paid homage to his nickname on Thursday night against the Pistons with a new pair of Nikes. Hezonja wore custom-made Super Mario sneakers complete with images of characters from the beloved Nintendo video game.
: Kicks of the Night - #SuperMario pic.twitter.com/tcmk5mQ87Z— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) December 29, 2017
Mario Hezonja balling in the GOAT shoes (photo courtesy of @OMagicDaily) pic.twitter.com/4VjyxEPcyp— Chris Barnewall (@ChrisBarnewall) December 29, 2017
Hezonja, while getting the opportunity to start in light of the Magic's endless injuries, entered Thursday's match-up with Detroit averaging 16.2 points and 4.2 rebounds over his last five games, numbers that were somewhat inflated by his 28-point performance against the Pistons in their previous meeting. He was back to the bench on Thursday with the return of Aaron Gordon and scored just four points in 18 minutes.
Hezonja’s playing time was perhaps further reduced, and his sneakers understandably overshadowed, by one boneheaded play he made in the second quarter, which led to him being immediately subbed out by Frank Vogel. Pushing a 4-on-1 fast break, Hezonja attempted a between-the-legs pass, which was picked off by Ish Smith, the only Pistons defender in the vicinity. What should have been an easy bucket in transition instead ended in a turnover, and Hezonja didn’t return to the game until just over three minutes remained in the third.
Super Mario will probably find himself on Shaqtin' A Fool and Twitter reacted to the play as one might expect...
Mario Hezonja might never play another minute for the Magic. pic.twitter.com/1rI0JzYApb— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) December 29, 2017
Mario Hezonja with the play of the year pic.twitter.com/A51D3E0esR— NBA Lowdown (@NBALowdown) December 29, 2017
What was Mario Hezonja thinking? #Shaqtin pic.twitter.com/3l8mGHsXWM— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) December 29, 2017
He thought pic.twitter.com/MXGSpFhFCF— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 29, 2017
there are no words ...— Colin Ward-Henninger (@ColinCBSSports) December 29, 2017
h/t @ChrisBarnewall pic.twitter.com/MdOXKTLfVe
Magic guard Mario Hezonja ruins 4-on-1 fast break with awful between-the-legs pass (Video): https://t.co/bP1MR29GUm pic.twitter.com/fVfDpGr1x4— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) December 29, 2017
But at the very least, the sneakers he wore while attempting the pass were pretty awesome.