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James Harden ‘finds his footing’ in Brooklyn by re-directing ads from billboards to shop windows

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Nick DePaula of The Undefeated reports that his new white-and-black sneakers will be marketed not on Brooklyn billboards, but instead in shop windows of 25 minority businesses around the borough.

The campaign, a joint effort by the Nets player and Adidas, is aimed at making “a positive impact in difficult times,” says Harden.

“Obviously, it’s a short window since I’ve been here, but I feel like myself and Adidas are going to try to make an impact and footprint on this beautiful city,” said Harden, “because Brooklyn deserves it.”

Specifically, writes DePaula, advertising dollars will be redirected from billboards above the neighborhoods to signage at eye level.

The financial impact is expected to be a windfall well into the six figures, with the signage featuring Harden’s portrait with text reading “I AM DIFFERENT” or “BKLYN IS DIFFERENT” in front window and door displays. The web of small businesses includes staples like Brooklyn Tea, barbershops like Brooklyn Tonsorial and restaurants such as BK9 Kitchen & Bar and Brooklyn Beso Restaurant & Bar.

Take a look of these images, courtesy of Adidas ...

Each of those shops are facing 25-to-35 percent occupancy limits so it’s a welcome source of new income and Harden and Adidas hopes it will lead to new customers for the All-Star’s signature shoe.

[T]he simple white-and-black “Welcome to Brooklyn” colorway of his latest sneaker at home, with plans in the coming weeks to also raise money through raffling that pair on the MOV platform. Fans can enter the sweepstakes to win the shoes by buying entry tickets, with all of the revenue from the ticket sales being donated to three minority-owned local Brooklyn businesses hand-picked by Harden.

For the latest edition of his Adidas signature series, DePaul reports, the Vol. 5 model is being split into two “chapters,” with the rounded abstract panels along the upper of the shoe from the first chapter’s design now morphing into more distinct shapes for the “Chapter 2” edition that Harden will wear for the second half of the season.

Part of the change from billboards to storefront signage is part of what the partnership believes is the morphing of the advertising ethos, getting closer to the customer.

“It was more interaction,” said Harden. “As I get older, I want to make sure that the story on the court is told, and the story off the court is told, with my shoe. The detail was tapped into a little bit more.”

The next series of sneakers, Harden adds, may very reflect his changing game from Houston scoring to Brooklyn facilitating.

“As far as my shoe inspiration, being a Net and chasing a goal that I haven’t obtained and reached yet,” Harden said, “my whole vibe right now is happiness.”

Despite a schedule Harden calls “game, game, game, game,” the player promises to get more familiar with his new surroundings, continue to help out local businesses through Adidas’ redirected media budget concept, etc.

He’s off to a good start.

Meanwhile, back in Houston, Harden is teaming up with Adidas and his own Thirteen Restaurant for a clothing giveaway. Together, they’ll pass out $100,000 worth of Adidas jackets, shoes, pants and shirts, in multiple sizes for children and adults, from noon to 3:00 p.m. Friday at Thirteen Restaurant,

Harden and Thirteen have already donated hot meals to schools in Houston’s independent school districts and low-income senior apartments. They also gave away 3,000 meals and bottled water to people in need after the winter storm that devastated the Lone Star State.