Here’s a newsflash: Outdoor sporting events for traditional indoor sports are awesome. They just are. Facts are facts. First, the Winter Classic stole all the New Year’s Day hype from college football, then outdoor hockey expanded to multiple games, and college basketball even took to an aircraft carrier to debut its season.
High school hockey has certainly embraced a number of outdoor rink’ed games since, and high school basketball has tentatively stuck its toe in the water a couple times with games at the Venice Beach courts in L.A., among other locales. Still, what went down on Saturday may usher in a new level of cross-platform promotion and event hype among high school basketball fans and sneakerheads.
In celebration of the release of the latest edition of NBA star Paul George’s new shoes, which have a distinct space and NASA theme, Nike set up a pair of Florida high school games on an outdoor court at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The court was black with moon images in the paint, the shoes were neon and very space-y and there were rocket fuselages in the background. What could go wrong.
The answer, it seems, is just about nothing. The two games were set up as part of the Paul George Showcase, produced by Iconic Creative, a digital and experiential marketing agency, and included a game between Lakeland Christian School and The Masters School of Orlando, as well as Chaminade-Madonna Prep, from Hollywood (Fla., not Calif.) taking on University High School of Fort Lauderdale.
Of course, University School is most well known for being the home of Chosen 25 stars Vernon Carey (Class of 2019) and Scottie Barnes (Class of 2020). Wouldn’t you know that Barnes produced the drive of the day to put the game away, too:
According to the Orlando Sentinel, George planned to be on hand to greet the teams, which also got an interactive tour of the space center. That’s pretty cool.
You know what else is cool? More outdoor basketball. This was a nice little gambit by Nike. Your move, Adidas and Under Armour. Make it happen!