Fulfilling its belief in spaces for play doubling as invitations for creativity and self-improvement, Nike is partnering with Virgil Abloh and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago to renovate the local chapter’s basketball court at the Martin Luther King Jr. location in East Garfield Park. The effort reflects a shared vision to support sport access and community building.
The club’s court, locker rooms and game room space have all been refurbished to provide a fun, positive space to play for the kids who live in the East Garfield Park neighborhood. Beyond the physical modifications of the space, Nike is also launching the Nike All-Star Academy, combining on-court skill work with hands-on learning in sport design, sport science and sport journalism. This will build upon existing community programming with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago through the Rise League and continue a commitment to youth basketball and community initiatives in the city.
Abloh, who was raised in Illinois, is a familiar advocate for Chicago’s youth. Nike and Abloh joined together in May of 2019 to launch the NikeLab Chicago Re-Creation Center c/o Virgil Abloh. Since May, the space has sparked creativity among Chicago youth through mentorship, workshops, enablement programs and product customization. The partnership among Abloh, Nike and the Boys & Girls Clubs sends the designer deeper into Chicago’s heritage through a sport that uniquely galvanizes the city.
“This new court and programming not only extend our community work from the NikeLab Re-Creation Center, they provide a positive, free space for kids to engage in activities rooted in sport that will lead to an active healthy lifestyle and teach teamwork and the determination to succeed,” says Abloh.
In communal approach, the partnership adds to the vision of the New York City’s Stanton Street Courts by Kaws and the 2019 series of Pigalle-inspired basketball courts in Paris, Beijing and Mexico City.