The basketball court at Henegouwerplein has a rich history. It dates back to the 70s and now it’s being refurbished and maintained by NBA and Foot Locker Europe.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Foot Locker Europe recently expanded their partnership. Part of their collaborative #RaiseTheGame campaign is refurbishing basketball courts and host youth basketball clinics and fan events across Europe.
Since launching the #RaiseTheGame campaign in September 2020, Foot Locker and the NBA have refurbished outdoor basketball courts in Europe. From Barcelona (Poblenou) to London (Clapham Common) and Milan (Via Lazio) to Paris (Jemmapes). In an effort to empower local communities and bring people together through the game of basketball. As part of the partnership, the NBA hosts clinics for local community groups at each venue and will continue to do so in the years to come.
#RaiseTheGame by NBA and Foot Locker
“As part of our commitment to inspire and empower youth, basketball continues to be a key pillar for our brand for what it represents: community, inclusivity, hope and empowerment,” said Susie Kuhn, President of Foot Locker EMEA. “We’re therefore thrilled to be able to continue our long-standing partnership with the NBA, working alongside them to launch the next steps in our #RaiseTheGame program. Our aim is to help promote inclusivity and bring the youth community throughout Europe together socially, and so we look forward to the new court refurbishments in Paris and Rotterdam, as well as the tournaments taking place in Barcelona and London later this year.”
“Foot Locker Europe is a valued long-term partner for the NBA in the region, and we look forward to expanding our partnership that now marks 12 years of collaboration,” said Nick Cowell, NBA Europe and Middle East Senior Director, Global Partnerships. “Foot Locker shares our commitment to growing the game and using basketball to bring fans together around sports, fashion, and lifestyle.”
History of Henegouwerplein
Numerous Dutch internationals started their career here. Francisco Elson for example. He is still the only Dutch player who won an NBA Championship, with the San Antonio Spurs in 2007. In the early 90s, the court got a renovation with a new floor consisting of crushed shoe soles. On that occasion, sponsor Nike brought over NBA players Penny Hardaway and Scottie Pippin. They signed a wall, but their signatures have unfortunately been painted over.
Now, local artist Franky Sticks has been asked to make a new design. His design inspiration came from the movements and community that basketball is known for. The tension between the teams and the fluid movements of the players are expressed through the use of various colors and patterns. It is revealed on September 10.
He says, “It is an honor to have been given the opportunity to design a basketball court in my hometown. I look forward to the response from the community. I myself have played basketball from my teenage years and hope the new court inspires the next generation to play. Just as it did for ex-NBA player Francisco Elson who also played basketball here when he was growing up in Rotterdam.”
Elson is present during the presentation and will speech, as is a city alderman and the aforementioned Susie Kuhn for Foot Locker. She says: “Because we care about inspiring and empowering youth, basketball remains a focus point for us. Community, inclusiveness, hope, and empowerment, that’s what it’s all about. With this next step in Rotterdam, we hope to support the roots of the sport and culture. Which are equal to our brand values, across Europe. We know that the basketball community in Rotterdam is still emerging and fairly underfunded. Through our partnership with Concrete Lions, we hope to contribute to this in an authentic and impactful way.”
To take basketball in Rotterdam to the next level, Foot Locker has started a partnership with local community Concrete Lions. Concrete Lions is committed to connecting people of all ages through basketball events and clinics. Foot Locker and Concrete Lions share a mission to promote basketball to local youth. Especially those who don’t always have access to basketball clubs or the resources they need. They do this by providing digital support, training resources such as kits, basketballs, and cones as well as games and annual support for local tournaments, clinics, and other activities.
Alpha Sow, Founder of Concrete Lions, says: “We believe that everyone deserves an equal opportunity to be part of the basketball community. This partnership is a unique opportunity to better support the youth of Rotterdam. Our work with Foot Locker gives the opportunity to provide the platform and resources they need to increase their skills and passion for the sport, regardless of their background, sexuality or other challenges that may be a barrier.”
NBA EME Senior Director, Global Partnerships, Nick Cowell concludes, “We look forward to working with the dedicated team at Foot Locker to celebrate the unveiling of this newly renovated court at Henegouwerplein. We are confident that the court will contribute to the growth of grassroots basketball in the local community. Maybe this is even the place where the next generation of stars will start their careers. On their way to the NBA or WNBA.”
Photography by: Nikki van Toorn