Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nike Unveils Community Store Plans; Donates Basketball Courts to New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — To celebrate NBA All-Star Weekend and Nike's long term commitment to rebuilding New Orleans through sport, Nike will unveil plans for a new community store and host a court dedication and community celebration at New Orleans Park and Recreation's (NORD) St. Bernard Center on Thursday, Feb. 14.

Nike's Community Store is scheduled to open in April 2008 on Carrolton Avenue. In addition to providing local jobs and management training programs, the store will host an annual grant program to support community-based programs targeting sport opportunities for women and youth.

Mayor C. Ray Nagin, NBA All-Star LeBron James, and WNBA legend Lisa Leslie will be on hand to dedicate one of five basketball courts refurbished in New Orleans by Nike since September 2007. In addition, The LeBron James Family Foundation, with LeBron James, will unveil a renovated playground at the community center. After the dedication ceremony, there will be an exhibition basketball game and a host of other activities for local area youth.

"Our goal is to help bring sport back to New Orleans and help the youth of the city get active and play sports," said Sandy Pressley, GM of Nike's GBU South. "As part of our long-term commitment to the city, we are proud to be announcing our community store. Our hope is to help bring employment, activity and commerce back to the community and to help encourage retail investment in the area.”

Since 2005, Nike has donated over $7 million in product and cash to New Orleans. Last year, Nike launched the Let Me Play New Orleans program, donating $2 million in product, equipment and play surfaces as part of its rebuilding through sport effort.

Nike's five donated courts are located at four NORD locations: Sam Bonart, Taylor Park, Stallings-Gentilly Park, and the St. Bernard Center. Made of recycled shoes, the courts were built as part of Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe recycling program, which collects worn-out sneakers and recycles them into new play surfaces. Shoes for these courts were collected at Nike retail locations nationwide by community members eager to assist in the rebuilding efforts in New Orleans.

Let Me Play, Nike's new signature community effort, will expand the company's commitment to sports and physical fitness for youth through the recognition that by playing sports, young people can make themselves, their communities and their world better. In additional to building surfaces for play, Let Me Play provides grants and product donations to support young people in their quest for sport; and it brings volunteers, organizations and decision-makers together to improve opportunities that help youth grow up healthy and active.

NIKE, Inc. is the world's leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly owned Nike subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic footwear, apparel and accessories; Cole Haan Holdings Incorporated, which designs, markets and distributes luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats; NIKE Bauer Hockey Corp., a leading designer and distributor of hockey equipment; and Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories.

This program provides support for New Orleans' neighborhood playgrounds, an integral place for kids to play and exercise. It's also nice to see Nike team up with role models like Lebron James and Lisa Leslie, who are inspirational to youth.

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