All Things Loyal

Words by Ashley Hurst

 

Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves shortstop, is from the South, but he’s not your typical “good ol’ Southern boy.” He doesn’t enjoy fishing and hunting so much as he loves rap music and shopping for shoes. “People assume because I’m from the South that I’m a certain way; there’s nothing wrong with hunting and fishing, but it’s not who I am,” he explains. He goes on to say that oftentimes in interviews and at media events he answers the questions how he “should” according to his media training, and while his answers are true, he may not always get the opportunity to be 100 percent true to who he is. “People get an incomplete view of us and fill in the blanks themselves. I want people to actually know—to correct the misconceptions.”

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Dansby loves the culture of Atlanta, and a big part of that culture is the music. “I’m always listening to music—on the bus, before a game, eating dinner. I love the mood it puts me in and the community it creates. And a lot of people don’t realize how much music comes out of Atlanta.” Dansby goes on to explain that he admires the perseverance and work ethic inherent in successful music careers, and that he can relate to the idea of working hard to get what you want. He also loves that music is a way for people to tell their stories, and while he may not be able to relate to the story directly, he definitely relates to the desire to share.

As Dansby became more recognizable, he found himself making his social circle smaller and valuing privacy more than he had previously. After a while he realized that, as a representative of his team and of his city, “If people want to ‘know’ me, then I want them to know the real me—my faith, my morals and values, what I hold myself accountable for, and what I think is important.” So he began looking for ways to show his true character—to share who he really is and how he grew up.

During an off-season shopping trip, Dansby came across a Gucci Mane T-shirt, and he had to have it. He saw this as a perfect way to use his celebrity status to share his love for his town as well as display his personality.

During spring training he came across a second shirt to add to his collection, this time a Migos T-shirt, and an idea was born. Dansby decided he wanted to wear a different T-shirt each week to showcase Atlanta culture. Even better, he thought, what if I design the shirts myself?

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He contacted another Atlanta native, Brian Rohr, of Coast 2 Coast Tees. Brian lives in LA but continues to make T-shirts specific to Georgia and to Atlanta. Dansby loved Brian’s ideas and his attention to detail, so he reached out about printing some shirts, and as the two chatted about this new idea, it began evolving—from personal shirts to selling them to creating a give-back brand.

Ultimately, AllThingsLoyal was born. Dansby brought on his best friend, Mitchell Lancaster, to help run the company, and Brian continues to offer guidance. On the surface, this is a company that produces limited-edition T-shirts each time the Atlanta Braves play a Friday home game. Shirts are pre-sold online Friday through Sunday, and for every shirt sold, $5 is donated to a local nonprofit.

But AllThingsLoyal isn’t just a company—it’s a movement. They sold their first set of shirts on March 30, and the 2018 season gave them fourteen Home Fridays. That translates to fourteen opportunities to impact lives.

You see, in addition to his love of rap and shoes, Dansby also has a passion for sharing his love of Atlanta and for helping those less fortunate. And for Dansby, that’s not just lip service. He refuses to simply write a check and put it in the mail. He is passionate about being “in the trenches” and seeing the difference he can make. “It’s cool to see the influence first hand. And I want to inspire others and be a positive influence. We’re all meant to work together, not against each other.”

And Dansby takes every opportunity he can to be active with the nonprofits he supports. In August, just in time for school to start back, the following message, along with some pictures that will warm your heart, showed up on AllThingsLoyal’s Instagram: “What an incredible day. We were blessed with an opportunity to do some back to school shoe shopping with some homies from the Marietta Student Life Center & the Atlanta Children’s Shelter. Opportunities like this wouldn’t be possible without y’all!”

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Dansby is firm in his belief that we are all on this earth to love one another and make others better, and he believes that within communities is the best place to share these ideas. “Communities are valuable. That’s where we come together—we learn to love and accept everyone, and we learn to be together.”

Dansby and AllThingsLoyal also partner with other Atlanta celebrities to support their causes and foundations: TRU Foundation with rapper 2 Chainz; Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan, and the American Cancer Society through a foundation set up by Migos member Offset.

They have also supported the Atlanta Braves Foundation, Our House Georgia, the Marietta Student Life Center, Atlanta Children’s Shelter, Cool Kids’ Committee, Inc., and the SHARE Military Initiative in partnership with The Varsity.

Dansby isn’t passionate about one nonprofit or foundation. He’s passionate about all of them. He has a desire to influence, inspire, and lift up every person he comes in contact with. “I want things to be better because I was part of it, instead of not making an impact.”

And so, in the words of AllThingsLoyal: “We would love for y’all to join our movement of AllThingsLoyal to positively impact people each and every day. Life is a beautiful thing when we focus on the positive aspects, instead of only recognizing the negative ones. With that being said, start today by using your manners, showing some Southern hospitality, and being kind to your neighbors. Go out and be great. We promise it is worth every bit of it.”

Join the movement at allthingsloyal.com or on Instagram @theallthingsloyal.