The newly named Brooklyn Nets Basketball Academy presented by adidas, reflective of the Nets’ new multi-year partnership with the brand, has set a clear focus centered around connecting with the youth community through basketball. On Nov. 29, the Nets celebrated the launch of the partnership with a basketball clinic for more than 130 kids from six community organizations.

Hosted by James Harden, the boys and girls learned more about the game and got a boost of confidence. “The Academy, while it develops basketball skills and that’s certainly important, it really focuses on teaching skills that you can take with you through life, like resilience, teamwork, goal-setting,” said Mandy Gutmann, executive vice president communications and community relations, BSE Global, parent company of the Nets and Barclays Center.

“Girls are fans of the Nets too, and we want to make sure they have that connection to the team and benefit from those off-the-court skills,” said Gutmann. “[At the clinic] James shared a little bit about people who inspired him and the coaches that made a difference in his life. That can make a tremendous impact on a little boy or a little girl. For them to have the ability to hear his story and hear what got him to the level that he’s at, that makes a difference.
“We were excited to see the turnout at the event, to have such a large representation of girls who were really good basketball players come out and show off their skills,” she added. “We were super impressed by them.”

Gutmann said the Nets organization wants to have a diverse workplace that represents New York City and the team’s fan base and that preparing girls with life skills today will pay dividends in the future. Having adidas as a partner enables the Nets to expand the team’s reach, host more clinics and camps and even have “cooler gear for the kids,” said Gutmann.

Upcoming events include a holiday camp Dec. 28, 29 and 30, which is open to boys and girls. It’s designed to build a strong foundation for basketball and also keep kids moving during the winter. International Women’s Day on March 8 will bring some special programming for girls. Next summer, of course the New York Liberty return to Barclays. There will also be Nets summer camps throughout the tri-state area.

“We’re planning to have more camps than we’ve ever had before with the Brooklyn Nets, which gives more boys and girls the opportunity to be a part of it,” said Gutmann.

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