This is an inaugural event which is set to change the sport of basketball. Perhaps not the way the game is played, but definitely the way the sport is perceived, the way communities are involved in the sport and the relationship between the people and the sport. Just announced today, Nike will be partnering up with USA Basketball to bring a new event, the World Basketball Festival, to life. The World Basketball Festival will feature the leading basketball brands under Nike Inc.’s umbrella– Converse, Jordan Brand and Nike Basketball. Aside from these three heavyweight labels in the sport, the festival, set to launch for the first time this August from August 12th to August 15th in New York City, will also showcase some of the world’s best basketball teams. This will be a four day celebration of basketball and the culture surrounding one of the world’s favorite sport. World Basketball Festival is also set to reprise biannually, so basketball fans can rest assured that they will be able to partake in the festival consistently.
This year, the festival will be kicking off in an open air court in Times Square of New York City on August 12. This is when the 2010 USA National Basketball Team will be unveiled before the team sets off to the 2010 FIBA World Basketball Championship set to jump-off on August 28th in Turkey. Then, the balls, courts, players, fans and musical acts will be moving their way uptown to the legendary Rucker Park in Harlem. Aside from international musical acts, the two-day fanfare will also sport training sessions for the public who are seeking to improve their game, and a grassroot youth tournament for some of New York’s top summer basketball leagues. Then, on the 15th, the action will move to New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden, where a friendly exhibition game will be held. On the 15th, USA will be playing against France, and China against Puerto Rico.
The festival talk and plans aside, in conjunction with Nike’s effort to grow and get in touch with the basketball community, Nike will also be working with USA Basketball and New York City to debut the “United We Rise” initiative, designed to improve communities through basketball. Nike will be working specifically with the New York City Department of Youth and Community and the New York City Housing Authority to support youth programming, and the installation and refurbishment of basketball courts in the city.
For those who are slightly worried about what to do after the NBA Finals are over, after finding out if Kobe Bryant will be adding a fifth ring to his collection, Nike proves that basketball fever never dies, and will be welcoming all to keep celebrating the sport beyond the NBA. So in the midst of a dreary Wednesday morning, the gathered world media and press rose to the enliven gospel rendition of “Empire State of Mind” by The Boys And Girls Choir Of Harlem Alumni Ensemble at the converted Pier 59 Studio at New York’s Chelsea Piers. Hosted by retired NBA star, Kenny Smith, flanked by Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball Chairman, Charlie Denson, Nike Brand President, along with 2 raising NBA stars, Kevin Durant, of Oklahoma City Thunder, and â€¨Yi Jianlian of New Jersey Nets, the official announcement plus details of the World Basketball Festival were disclosed. Those onstage were later joined by representatives from United We Rise initiative and NYC Department of Youth and Community Development for a computer fly-through of the proposed World Basketball Festival venues.