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Brief Published: 28 Oct 2021

Nike’s Eco Basketball Hub in Serbia Spurs Grassroots Sport

Nike Blok 70, Belgrade, Serbia

Evolving its Move to Zero commitments regarding eliminating carbon emissions and waste, Nike’s Blok 70 all-ages sports facility in Belgrade, Serbia, is conceived to galvanise grassroots participation. The project includes a basketball court created from 20,000 recycled sneakers donated by the local community, a children’s playground, bleacher benches and an outdoor gym.

The space is named after the district of Belgrade it’s located in, Blok 70. Comprising multiple Brutalist tower blocks, the formerly residential compound (now known as Belgrade's Chinatown) is renowned for its basketball roots. Many players grow up and practise in the area, including Nemanja Bjelica of NBA team Miami Heat.

Built in partnership with London-based creative agency Accept & Proceed (B Corp certified), Blok 70’s striking neon and black graphic details are borrowed from Move to Zero’s visual language (also by Accept & Proceed), intended to convey the urgency of the climate crisis. Meanwhile, the shoes used for the court were collected via bins in local stores and public areas that used the same design vernacular. Connecting the concept to Nike’s main projects, the same visual scheme appears on the windows of its Belgrade flagship and points-of-sale.

The initiative sees Nike further its mission of encouraging amateur athleticism, which includes rejecting sporting anxiety and embracing failure ­– see Galvanising Grassroots in Summer of Sport: Brand Engagement Tactics for details.

Last year, Accept & Proceed worked on a similar project for Nike, designing the Hackney Marshes Football Pitches in east London (an area known as the home of grassroots English football). The colourful set of patterned tarmac soccer fields enabled socially distanced sport.

For more local branded support through sport, see Leaning into Local and Culture + Commerce: Foot Locker Backs Grassroots Basketball. For more climate-conscious branding and store design, look out for Eco-Comms: Retail Initiatives, Marketing & Messaging, publishing on November 4.

Nike Blok 70, Belgrade, Serbia
Nike's Belgrade Flagship