James Harden heads to Brooklyn gymnasium to initiate Nets-Adidas youth partnership
To celebrate the launch of a partnership between the Nets and adidas, the Brooklyn Nets Basketball Academy and James Harden on Monday hosted a clinic for more than 130 young people from six community organizations at the Caray Gabney Recreational Complex, not far from the Barclays Center.
“This is something that I have missed for the past year and a half since the pandemic. Just being in front of these kids means a lot to me,” Harden said. “I was in their shoes, just a kid trying to figure out life and basketball helped me to do that, hope i can inspire them to be great.
The Nets Guard led a contingent of Nets staff to the Cavernous Gymnasium, part of the Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center, the former Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights. Harden and his teammates Cam Thomas, Bruce Brown and Day’Ron Sharpe all have personal sponsorship deals with adidas.
Harden, now in his second season with Brooklyn, had been heavily involved in community efforts in Houston before the global pandemic hit and he was traded to the Nets. The partnership is another indication that the relationship between the team and the player remains strong. Harden is eligible for an extension in July,
The multi-year partnership of the Nets and adidas will focus on the growth of the youth academy. The newly named “Brooklyn Nets Basketball Academy Presented by adidas” will benefit from the support of the global sports and lifestyle brand in a variety of ways, according to a statement from BSE Global, the parent company of the Nets.
As part of the deal, adidas will become the preferred supplier of merchandise and equipment for all Academy programs. Some adidas James Harden clothing will also be available for Nets fans to purchase from the team store, Brooklyn Fanatics, at Barclays Center. Additionally, adidas and the Nets will create personalized digital content featuring Harden and his future adidas basketball shoes.
Julia Smith, who has three decades of coaching experience, has been the Academy’s Chief Clinician for three years.
“They’re really excited,” Smith said of the kids who participate throughout the year. “It always pleases me. To have a child who does not play basketball, who does not get discouraged and does not give up, these are 100% what makes our day.
The Academy was founded in 2016 and since then has hosted over 30,000 children at over 450 events while working with over 225 community partners, ultimately reaching 60,000 people.
“We are delighted to partner with adidas and advance our shared commitment to developing grassroots basketball through the Brooklyn Nets Basketball Academy,” said John Abbamondi, CEO of BSE Global. “The Academy teaches children many important life lessons and yesterday’s clinic with James Harden was the start of our work with adidas to expand our impact in the community.”