Joakim Noah, Andrew Wiggins and the Future of adidas

Adidas is making moves. The brand has a clear vision of what’s coming next. Sleek performance-based apparel and sneakers are already flooding the Three Stripes’ website. And the adidas Big Boom hasn’t even happened yet.

Adidas has also pumped up their basketball roster. With Joakim Noah, Andrew Wiggins Damian Lillard, James Harden and some of the best youngins‘ coming in, they’re stacked with both good players and personalities.

This week, Noah and Wiggins hosted the Lincoln High School (Brooklyn, NY) basketball team for an afternoon of advice and mental training at the Skylight Clarkson in New York. Led by Graham Betchart, the cofounder of Play Present, Noah, Wiggins and the Lincoln players went through several mental training exercises meant to increase their ability to focus.

Betchart harped on the need to be in the moment and vulnerable. He said athletes have to be willing to fail in order to learn.

Noah talked to the kids for a solid 15 minutes before they began to “work out” their minds. He sat while the squad surrounded him in a circle, the old head prepping the next generation. After the mind-strengthening, Wiggins stood up and joked around with the high school kids for 20 minutes. Just kids being kids.

The whole event was thrown together by adidas. The brand now sponsors Lincoln. And the night before, they put on a show that featured Noah and Wiggins as models in the upcoming adidas Athletics line.

“It’s a blessing. It’s such a blessing,” Noah says about being a brand ambassador. “I’ve been wanting to do this since I was a kid. I’ve been with the brand for a long time, since ABCD Camp, where I was a ballboy.” Back in the early 2000s, he rebounded for LeBron James and Lenny Cooke. A lot’s changed for him, and the company, since then.

“The company’s come such a long way,” Noah says. “You look at the style and it’s so fresh. We came a long way from Pro Models, you know? They were nice sneakers but when you compare it to the BOOST and all the technologies they have going on now, it’s pretty unreal.”

That BOOST tech is a major selling point for the adidas Crazy Explosive, the sneaker that Wiggins will represent and play in during the season.

“I like it a lot,” Wiggins says on the brand new shoe. “I like the different color ways. I like the comfort level, the BOOST at the bottom. When you stand up and you’re wearing the show it’s like you’re standing on a big cushion. It’s dope.”

Even after winning the 2015 Rookie of the Year, averaging 20 ppg in his second season and being the face of a sneaker, Wiggins still didn’t think he would take such a major step towards brand ambassador.

“Nah, I didn’t think this would happen,” the 21-year-old says with a smile. “I thought it was cool how they showcased everything. They had the pictures on the wall, they had a bunch of models come in and model the designs. It was great, they put on a great show.”

Of course, with adidas throwing their party in New York and Lincoln, one of NY’s best-ever basketball programs in the building, native New Yorker Joakim Noah had to talk about the Knicks for a second.

“We have a lot of talent,” Noah says. “To me, when you think of the Knicks, no matter what, it’s always gonna be an underdog. The Knicks is the underdog no matter what. I’m really proud to be on this team and there’s obviously a lot of talent.

“I just wanna enjoy playing basketball,” he continues. “The last couple years have been really hard for me, in terms of injuries. I just wanna go out there and enjoy.”

Photos courtesy of Devlin Claro