Adidas collaborates to make sustainable McDonald’s All-American jerseys

A preview of Adidas' new jerseys and sneakers for the 42nd annual McDonald's All-American games
A preview of Adidas' new jerseys and sneakers for the 42nd annual McDonald's All-American games /

The 42nd annual McDonald’s All-American games will be played Mar. 27 in Atlanta. Adidas sponsors the prestigious event and will roll out new apparel just for the occasion.

For over four decades, the McDonald’s All-American games have been the pinnacle for high school basketball. The event recognizes and showcases the nation’s top players and gives most of us our initial chance at seeing future college, NBA and WNBA stars.

Getting to watch the next wave of talent, see how they play and what schools they’re going to is always exciting. The All-American games establish connections and provide the first opportunity to build fandom with these players. The games also benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities and provide an opportunity to spotlight the Archways to Opportunity educational access program.

So often sporting events miss the mark with halftime entertainment or don’t represent the area well. That’s not the case here. The games take place in Atlanta again this year and after booking one artist with local ties in Ludacris in 2018, the city’s own Migos will do the halftime show for 2019. Aside from their geographic connection, the trio has a big love for the game, with Quavo even participating in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

Adidas has partnered with the McDonald’s All-American games since 2012. This year’s jerseys will feature climacool ventilation, breathable perforated numbers, and custom home state artwork for each player, along with an environmentally-mindful production process.

“This year we wanted to provide the best of the best while also being conscious of the environment,” Brandon Walker, senior manager of sports marketing at adidas, said in an interview. “So we partnered with Parley for the Oceans — a collaborative platform that repurposes plastic waste. They retool it, rethread it and turn it into performance products for us. All of our in-game jerseys this year are created through plastic, which is pretty incredible. It’s breathable, it performs as well or better than anything else and we’re excited to bring that to the McDonald’s game.”

In addition to the green-friendly jerseys, all participants will get their choice of three in-game sneakers and a Jam Fest shoe. They’ll have the option of the N3XT L3V3L — a shoe adidas recently went to market with — the Harden Vol. 3 and both the low or mid cut of the Marquee Boost.

“With Harden having a background as a McDonald’s All-American himself, this is a really special moment for him. He remembers that game, he remembers the impact it had and he wants to ensure the kids today have a chance to wear his product,” Walker said.

The Jam Fest shoe will be the Dame 5, with big, bold colorways inspired by POWERADE’s Mountain Berry Blast and Lemon Lime flavors. Being a late bloomer relative to his peers, Damian Lillard didn’t play in the All-American game but gets to be part of it as one of adidas’ headliners and the NBA’s preeminent stars.

“Dame understands that was a game he wishes he could have played in and was working to play in, but his opportunity just came later in life. It’s inspiring for him to provide a shoe as a reminder that even if you aren’t an All-American, you still have a chance to make it. They’re fun ones, the shoes are loud, they’re bright, they’re what the kids are looking for today and we’re excited to show the world what we have to offer,” said Walker.

Along with Harden and Lillard, some of the other big names who rep adidas include Candace Parker, Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike, Brandon Ingram, and Jaylen Brown.

To keep up in the sneaker wars, the company looks for new ways to innovate and builds symbiotic relationships with their players.

“Collaboration is the main thing. With our signature athletes, we’re in the room with them for weeks and months at a time, we text with them, we’re presenting different opportunities for them to enter the sneaker market. And we want it to be a co-creation. Nobody can tell their story better than themselves, so we listen. We’re also providing the best-in-class service when it comes to building the product that they feel is best for their foot and story-telling,” said Walker.

Next. McDonald’s All-American Games: Q&A with Jay Williams. dark

“With shoes like N3XT L3V3L, we’re taking risks, we’re pushing the limits. To have a completely laceless basketball shoe, it’s the first time our brand has done anything like that. So we’re really excited to have the top players in the country have a chance to wear it. I think they’re gonna be surprised how stable it is and how it performs. You can slip your foot in and it molds to your foot. It’s pretty awesome,” Walker continued.