FOUR YEARS SINCE joining global sports brand adidas as one of its ambassadors, National Basketball Association superstar James Harden said he is very happy and satisfied with how the partnership has evolved and still developing.
Here in the country early this week to promote his and adidas’ “Free to Harden” campaign, the Houston Rockets All-Star guard shared that he could not have asked for a better partner in his hoops journey than adidas, which he said has allowed him to effectively communicate who he is not only as a player but also as a person in so many ways.
“They let me be me, James Harden. They show the creativity in me, whether it is my signature shoe or the campaigns we do, they don’t try to put anything on me. We do things together,” said Mr. Harden when he met members of local media on Wednesday night at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
The former NBA most valuable player said his partnership with adidas has been very fluid, something he is very much appreciative of and hopes to continue fostering moving forward.
“They gave me an opportunity three to four years ago to be myself. I’m so appreciative of that. And it has been unbelievable. There has been a lot of work but it’s all worth it,” Mr. Harden said.
“The designing of the shoes, and now we are at volume four, every design meeting, whether it’s colorways and materials, things that I need to perform, it’s all fun. And you get to see the end product of the shoe and play in it. It’s a wonderful feeling. The brand continues to grow and to be part of it, to change the culture, it’s amazing,” he added.
And the Free to Harden movement is another extension of their partnership, further proof of how he and adidas are feeding off one another in making things happen.
The Free to Harden movement is a platform where creativity and individuality rule.
It aims to show Mr. Harden’s fans that just like him, they, too, are free to play how they play, something the Rockets star has been become known for since joining the NBA in 2009, and step back, a move he has enhanced and made famous.
“At adidas, we believe we have to power to change lives through sports. And Harden’s visit — with the incredibly warm welcome he received from ecstatic fans, we saw this to be true. His journey in becoming the player he is today is truly an inspiration to his Filipino fans,” said adidas Philippines Brand Communications and Sports Marketing Manager Jen Dacasin.
While here, Mr. Harden went to the University of the Philippines College of Human Kinetics basketball court where he oversaw an exhibition game and was welcomed by the national wheelchair basketball team and the UP women’s basketball team.
He also mingled with his fans in various events hosted by adidas, culminating in the Free to Harden Freestyle Hub at the SMX Convention Center, where various games where held onstage. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo