Nike and the Portland Trail Blazers have teamed up to make sure kids from Oregon and Southwest Washington spend lots of time on the hardwood.
According to releases from the brand and the team, Nike and the Trail Blazers have entered a five-year partnership to support youth basketball in the area, with the Beaverton, Ore.-based brand providing more than $2 million in cash and its products to do so.
“Sport has the power to unleash human potential,” said Caitlin Morris, senior director of North America community impact for Nike, in a statement. “Together, Nike and the Blazers will give kids in Portland an opportunity enjoy the benefits of basketball both in and out of school. We’re excited to get kids moving more and to help get them on a path for leading more active, healthier and more successful lives.”
Nike will provide jerseys, Trail Blazers game tickets and more to the kids at the Rip City Academy, and provide money to the Trail Blazers Foundation to assist with its Sport for Health grants that donate money to nonprofit organizations that encourage kids and families to be active. The athletic brand will also provide basketball physical education kits to gym teachers, and assist in the development of camps and clinics when school is out.
“Kids today are less active than they’ve ever been, with 70 percent dropping out of sports before age 13,” said Christa Stout, VP of social responsibility for the Trail Blazers, in a statement. “That’s why the Trail Blazers Foundation awarded more than $100,000 in grants last year supporting local organizations focused on getting kids more active. And now in partnership with Nike, we’re going to be able to make an even larger impact.”
This past weekend, the kids of the Rip City Academy – ages 9 to 12 – got the chance to hit the court at Nike’s World Headquarters and were visited by players CJ McCollum and Mason Plumlee.
“Playing basketball has helped me as a person in many ways — it has allowed me to bring out my competitive side, and it’s also allowed me to learn to work in groups beyond just sports, but in life,” McCollum said in a statement.
Plumlee added, “The partnership between the Trail Blazers and Nike is a great way to reach kids at an early age, and encourage them to be active. Just being healthy and having a healthy lifestyle lends itself to being productive in other areas of life, whether that be your school work or taking care of your chores. Getting a good workout in every day is very important.”