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James Harden takes to Brooklyn gym 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 hosted a clinic for more than 130 youth from six community organizations Monday at the Carey Gabay Recreational Complex not far from Barclays Center.

“This is something I’ve been missing in this last year and a half since the pandemic. Just to be in front of these kids means a lot to me,” said Harden. “I was in their position, just a kid trying to figure out life and basketball helped me do that. Hopefully I can inspire them to be great.”

He also tweeted out his excitement...

The Nets guard led a contingent of Nets staffers to the cavernous gym, part of the Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center, the former Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights.

He was joined by Nets CEO John Abbamondi, Sean Marks, Steve Nash, and assistant coaches Adam Harrington Royal Ivey and announcer Olivier Sedra.

Harden and teammates Cam Thomas, Bruce Brown and Day’Ron Sharpe all have personal endorsement deals with adidas.

Harden, now in his second season with Brooklyn, had been heavily involved with 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 team and player remains strong. Harden is eligible for an extension come July,

The Nets and adidas multi-year partnership will be centered on growing the youth academy. The newly named “Brooklyn Nets Basketball Academy presented by adidas” will have the support of the global sports and lifestyle brand in a variety of ways, according to a statement released by BSE Global, the Nets parent company.

As part of the deal, adidas will become the preferred merchandise and equipment provider for all of the Academy’s programs. Select James Harden adidas apparel will also be available for Nets fans to purchase in the team store, Brooklyn Fanatics, at Barclays Center. Additionally, adidas and the Nets will create customized digital content featuring Harden and his future adidas Basketball footwear.

Julia Smith, who has three decades of coaching experience, has been a Head Clinician with the Academy for the last three years.

“They get really pumped,” said Smith of the kids that participate throughout the year. “It’s always pleasing to me. To get a kid that doesn’t play basketball and doesn’t get discouraged and didn’t give up, 100 percent those are the things that make our day.”

The Academy was founded in 2016 and since then it has welcomed more than 30,000 kids to over 450 events while working with upwards of 225 community partners, ultimately reaching 60,000 people.

“We are thrilled to partner with adidas and advance our shared commitment to growing grassroots basketball through the Brooklyn Nets Basketball Academy,” said Abbamondi. “The Academy teaches children many important life lessons and yesterday’s clinic with James Harden was the beginning of our work with adidas to extend our community impact.”