To celebrate the launch of a partnership between the Nets and adidas, the Brooklyn Nets Basketball and James Harden Academy hosted a clinic for more than 130 youths from six community organizations on Monday at the Caray Gabney entertainment complex not far from Barclays Center.
“That’s something I’ve lost in the last 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 situation, just a kid trying to figure out life and basketball helped me do that. I hope I can inspire them to be great.”
The Nets guard led a group of Nets employees to the cavernous gymnasium, part of the Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Centre, formerly Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights. Harden and co-stars Cam Thomas, Bruce Brown and Daeron Sharp each have personal endorsement deals with adidas.
Harden, now in his second season with Brooklyn, was heavily involved in community efforts in Houston before the global pandemic and traded with 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 between Nets and adidas will focus on the development of the Youth Academy. The newly named “Adidas’ Brooklyn Nets Basketball Academy” will be supported by the global sports and lifestyle brand in a variety of ways, according to a statement from BSE Global, the Nets parent company.
As part of the deal, adidas will become the preferred provider of merchandise and equipment for all of the Academy’s programs. Select James Harden adidas clothing will be available for Nets fans to purchase at the Brooklyn Fanatics Team Store in Barclays Center. Additionally, adidas and Nets will create personalized digital content featuring Harden and adidas futuristic basketball shoes.
Julia Smith, who has three decades of training experience, has served as the Academy’s chief medical officer for the past three years.
They were really pumped,” Smith said of the kids who participated throughout the year. “He always makes me happy. To have a kid who doesn’t play basketball and doesn’t get discouraged and doesn’t give up, 100 percent these are the things that make our day.”
The Academy was founded in 2016 and has since welcomed over 30,000 children at over 450 events while working with over 225 community partners, eventually reaching 60,000 people.
“We are thrilled to partner with adidas and reinforce our shared commitment to growing grassroots basketball through the Brooklyn Nets Basketball Academy,” said John Abamondi, CEO of BSE Global. “The Academy teaches many important life lessons for children, and yesterday’s clinic with James Harden was the beginning of our work with adidas to expand our community impact.”