The #FruitsOfLabor Story Pt16 – The Nike iD Hoops Tour
While I was working at Sprint, I also started Grad school at Virginia State University. One day in my third semester, 2010, I got a call from my uncle Darryl Woods. He’s a well-connected basketball agent from Chicago. He asked if I’d be interested in an opportunity with Nike. Of course I would! Now seeing how the opportunity just came about so randomly, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from it. I soon found out it was 3-month internship, which meant I would have to leave work for a while and I wouldn’t be able to finish the fall semester at VSU. It was early and that was a sacrifice I was willing to make. I corresponded with Ali, the tour coordinator, and packed my bags for Portland.
I was really unsure of how to pack for the trip. I didn’t account for the fact that they’d be providing Nike everything and how heavy a 50+ pound suitcase gets when you’re lugging it around for 3 months. So yeah, in other words, I waay over-packed. Lesson via Erykah Badu, “Pack Light.” But anyway… I flew out of Richmond to Atlanta and end up missing my connecting flight to Portland. So untimely! Still to this day, the only time I’ve ever missed a connection! I contacted Ali and she booked me a room for the night. Felt good to be covered but not the “first day” that I had in mind. The next morning I landed in Portland and I met the team. We did a 3-day tour training at Nike World Head Quarters with Portland EKIN Kyle Bowler (No not the Ravens QB). When we weren’t training we toured the facilities and shopped the employee store. I also caught up with my mentor in the Jordan Building. The whole campus was dope and I took a ton of pictures. On Day Four it was time to get serious.
The work was The 2010 Nike iD Hoops Tour. Objective: Travel to nationally ranked high schools throughout the country and host design sessions with their Boys & Girls Basketball teams. We split into three groups; West, Central, & East. My partner Dan and I were #TeamCentral. We traveled in a freshly wrapped, gutted cargo van called “The Bullet.” One of my favorite things about this tour was we were given the freedom to map our own route and an Amex to make it all happen. The #1 guideline was to get to the schools on schedule, and we always did that. In total, our journey went from Portland to Boise to Denver to Dallas to Houston to Memphis to Chicago to Indianapolis to Chicago to Minnesota to Canton(FB Hall of Fame) to Springfield, Mass(BB Hall of Fame). Hosting sessions with 6 schools along the way (Jack Yates, Simeon, Ben Davis, Hopkins, Findlay Prep, Bishop Gorman).
Dan and I were 100% responsible for Planning, Travel, Communication, Set-Up, Execution, & Recaps. Between driving and working it was always long hours. 10-12hour drives between cities and 12hr work days on site. Never complained though. That type of work is my idea of “Fun.” Plus we got the opportunity to design with so many talented young basketball players. Future Pros! We worked with Jabari Parker, Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist, Shabazz Muhammed, Myck Kabongo, Kendrick Nunn, and a bunch of others. Not to mention the Nike reps I made a point to meet along the way. This three month journey evolved me tremendously as a young professional. It introduced me to places I’d never been, showed me an accommodating work life that I hadn’t before experienced, It thrust me into leadership of a multi-million dollar project, provided me with premium interactions, and a check off my bucket list.
The Tour ended successfully at the Hoop Hall Classic in Massachusetts. Dan flew out for a wedding right after so it was just me and The Bullet. Ali called and asked if I’d be able to get The Bullet Home by myself. I said “Sure!” without hesitation… Springfield to New York to DC to Petersburg to Atlanta to Memphis to Dallas to Albuquerque to Las Vegas to Los Angles (Home). In one week. Damn, that was Fun.
Drive across the United States. √