To kick off the NBA season and celebrate its new 8-year partnership with the league, Nike came to Paris, and they brought Kobe Bryant. For three days, the brand ignited the city’s 19th arrondissement with basketball fervor in order to promote the sport and the league, hosting a range of activities and unveiling the renovations it carried out on the local Jean Jaures gym. The re-fabbed sports center, which was inaugurated by the retired 18-time NBA All Star Laker, now boasts a brand new court, locker rooms, scoreboards, and the latest in equipment, all courtesy of Nike.
The multi-day event was organized by agency Yard, specialists in urban culture. As such, the agency, which recently joined Sid Lee Paris, organized a range of activities geared to the urban generation to commemorate the occasion, including training sessions “Mamba Clinic” hosted by the Black Mamba himself, a pop-up store featuring designer Riccardo Tisci’s latest collection, the NBA-inspired “Victorious Minotaurs”, and a pop-up Air Force 1 store where visitors could have a pair of the famous trainers customized by the artist Tyrsa or illustrator Yue Wu. The highlight of the event was a stimulating tournament for the 8 best junior teams from Paris and its suburbs, generating incredible energy from the audience, notably for Kobe’s participation at the finals trophy presentation to the sport’s newest generation.
And in typical ‘Just Do It’ fashion, in a moment of spontaneity at a VIP welcoming dinner catered by renowned Italian chef Simone Tondo, Kobe Bryant proved he’s still got game, in a video posted by football phenom Neymar, Jr. that’s already gone viral
Basketball is the 2nd most popular sport in France (behind football), and the country is a leading European market for the NBA. With this operation, Nike not only celebrated European basketball in Paris, it bestowed the city with a new and meaningful landmark with its charitable donation of a “legacy court”, a future already teeming with history.