Student’s T-shirt line inspires success

Paul Miller, senior American sign language major, says he’s always been hungry for success. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Akilah Porter

Sitting in Risman Plaza, Paul Miller, senior American Sign Language major, calls to students to purchase one of his shirts.

“Get your L44 shirts today!“ he said.

Miller started Legendary 44 Apparel in 2005 in dedication to his best friend, Julian Long, who died from a staph infection while the friends were seniors in high school.

“It’s all in honor of him,” Miller said. “He represented greatness and never cared about what anyone thought of him.”

He said he hopes the clothing line will motivate people to make the best of their situations, just like Long encouraged Miller to do.

Miller said one of his last memories of Long was his encouraging Miller to embrace his hearing aids.

“Being hard of hearing rendered me in doing what I wanted to do like joining the military,” he said.

Miller found out he was hard of hearing when he was five years old when his teacher called on him, but he didn’t respond. This was caused by multiple ear infections that weren’t properly treated. Since then, he has been wearing hearing aids in both his ears.

Though his hearing was impaired, his family never treated him as if he was disabled.

“My family didn’t even call it disabled,” he said. “They looked at it as a gift.”

Miller, however, saw it differently. He said the older he got, the more he wanted to fit in with the other students, so he wouldn’t wear his hearing aids. That’s when his best friend, Justin Long, stepped in and told him to not worry about other’s opinions.

“That was one of the realest things he said to me,” Miller said.

That was the last thing Long said to Miller before Long went into a coma because of his staph infection. A week later, Long died.

“I just couldn’t stop crying,” Miller said. “I just let it all out.”

Now, Miller has a new best friend: his 7-year-old daughter.

“My goal is to give her the world,” Miller said.

That’s why he said he is continuing L44.

“ Yeah you’re down, but you have to get your ass back up,” Miller said. His new shirts will express just that.

G.D.Y., which stands for ‘Go Do You’ is to motivate those who want to be successful but have negative people trying to hold them back, Miller said. That’s what he said makes his clothing line unique.

“It’s basically a movement and a lifestyle,” Miller said.

Contact Akilah Porter at [email protected].