This week, Nike and USA Basketball made an impact in Chicago with the latest instalment of the World Basketball Festival. Originally created in 2010 as a tribute to the performance and culture of the game, the festival featured programs and activations to bring the Chicago community together through the lens of basketball. During the event young players and fans of the sport had a chance to see some of their on-court heroes and cheer them on as they prepare for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain which begins August 30.
We attended many of the World Basketball Festival games and activations over the past few days in Chicago. Below you will find 23 of our highlights from the event.
We kicked off the experience at the United Center, where Scottie Pippen surprised us with a private tour of the facility.
Including a look inside the historic Bulls locker room.
And of course we checked out the iconic Michael Jordan sculpture out front.
We visited Simeon High School, where Sonny Parker, Jabari Parker’s father told us about his love for the game and how important it is to the city of Chicago, especially in the South Side and West Side communities where players like Derrick Rose and Jabari learned the game.
Nike Sportswear hosted a pop-up shop during the WBF, where they released exclusive t-shirts and created custom jerseys and also gave away shaved ice.
The Jordan Brand tipped off the week with the opening of the Take Flight Chi XX9 Experience, a first chance for Chicago consumers to test the performance features of the Air Jordan XX9 and experience FlightPlate firsthand.
An installation by Chicago artist Hebru Brantley which featured a Jordan inspired “Fly Boy” and a community-sourced art wall, rounded out the experience and paid tribute the deep ties and shared history between the Jordan Brand and the city of Chicago.
The 2014 Nike World Basketball Festival officially began Thursday with an opening ceremony that featured members of the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s National Team.
The Chicago Park District’s 63rd Street Beach House was the epicenter of the week and included a special exhibit of historic footwear and apparel including this pair made for the other MJ, Michael Jackson.
We also had an up close look at the Nike Hyperdunk 2014, the shoe of choice for most players participating in the festival.
We witnessed USA Basketball athletes practicing before the big game including Anthony Davis, James Harden, Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan…
And Chicago’s hometown hero Derrick Rose, who would take the court later in the week much to the thrill of the Chicago basketball community.
Street basketball All-Stars from New York, Chicago, L.A. and D.C. faced off in the Tournament of Champions, with Chicago taking it in the end.
Nike launched CHI-TALK, a forum for Chicago youth to get up-close and personal with inspirational Chicago thought leaders including Angela Davis, Scoop Jackson, Coodie & Chike, Scottie Pippen, Sheryl Swoopes, Kevin Coval and Xan Aranda.
And Chicago rapper/actor Common.
Basketball competition throughout the week included the Nike Global Challenge, hosted at Whitney Young High School, featuring rising stars from the four USA regions as well as Pan Africa, China, Brazil and Canada. The court was done up in white, black and gold.
USA West won the competition over USA East with Stephen Zimmerman being named MVP, having averaged 17.5 points.
During WBF, Jordan Brand opened up an all new dedicated retail space on the top floor Niketown Chicago, kicking off the event with an appearance from Chicago basketball star Jabari Parker.
The space features this incredible gold Jumpman logo installation, made out of a multitude of individual Jordan Retro silhouettes that hang from the ceiling.
Niketown Chicago was selling WBF exclusive Lunar Force 1s under the glow of this amazing neon basketball hoop.
To cap off the festival, the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s National team matched up against their counterparts from Brazil at the United Center.
The half-time show featured incredible trampoline based acrobatics.
And USA went on to a 95-78 win over Brazil, with top scoring players being Anthony Davis and James Harden respectively.
The USAB team will continue on to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain, which begins August 30, 2014.
- Photography: Pete Williams for Highsnobiety.com