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Adidas EuroCamp is Back Like It Never Left

Last Updated: August 20, 2023
After a five-year hiatus, The Three Stripes reignited its biggest global basketball showcase for the next generation’s top hoopers from around the world. 

Since the turn of the millennium, athletic brands have been continually investing in new platforms, leagues, and events to help grow the game of basketball, elevate access for players, and build a bridge between current pros and the preps aspiring to one day play on the game’s grandest stage. 

Since 1999, Adidas EuroCamp has served as exactly that, a weekend-long basketball camp where top-ranked players from around the globe could descend to the northern Italian city of Treviso, bringing their skillsets to the town of less than 100,000 to play in front of pro league scouts from all over the world. As part of the aftermath of Adidas’ NBA partnership expiring in 2017, the brand had shifted away from holding the annual camp in recent years.

Until now.

“We wanted to make sure we brought it back to Treviso because that’s the birthplace,” said Cam Mason, Adidas Basketball’s Head of Sports Marketing. “It’s been in Treviso every year we’ve had it since ’99.”

Down Via Ghirada, just a short walk away from the hotel Adidas took over for the week, awaited the Palestre Ghirada, a dual-court indoor sportsplex adjacent to three outdoor courts. Inside the gym, a collective of 90 NBA scouts from 28 teams awaited. The decades-wide eras of scouts on hand were apparent, as iPads were aplenty with the 30-somethings, while the old guard swiftly jotted down any nuance or detail into their paper notepads that might one day fuel their future draft boards. 

The all-day hoops slate is a hoops junkie’s dream atmosphere.

Adidas EuroCamp
Photo courtesy of Adidas

In looking to accelerate its basketball business, the brand views EuroCamp as a win-win platform for the next-up players to gain exposure and for the company to scout and connect with potential brand endorsers.

“We haven’t done EuroCamp since 2017, and we wanted to make sure that we got back into the next generation,” said Mason. “This is also the first time we’re doing EuroCamp with women. We haven’t done a Women’s EuroCamp at all, ever, and we’re seeing a rise in women’s sports. We wanted to not only bring EuroCamp back for the next-gen, but also for women.”

The men’s format includes five teams of 18-22 year-old, NBA Draft eligible players from around the world, along with a “Next Gen” roster of a dozen top US high school aged standouts. To date, 41 former EuroCamp players are currently on an NBA roster, including Jaylen Brown, Bam Adebayo, Rudy Gobert, Bogdan Bogdonavich and others. Another 71 former EuroCamp players are currently playing for a EuroLeague team.

Throughout the week, players from around the globe represented the US, Asia, and corners of Europe in games. The simple black-and-white color scheme of the uniforms was accented by a vibrant red tone throughout the gym, seen along a collection of five banners hanging atop the sidelines and team benches. 

The imagery featured a mix of current NBA and WNBA stars under the Adidas umbrella, such as Donovan Mitchell, Candace Parker, Trae Young, and Chelsea Gray, donning the brand’s unmistakably simplistic current collection of apparel from its year-long “Remember The Why” campaign.

The declaration dead center was straightforward — “ADIDAS EUROCAMP IS BACK”.

Adidas EuroCamp
Photo courtesy of Adidas

“EuroCamp allows us to be more prevalent with the kid that is next up,” adds Mason. “If we’re being honest, the last three MVPs for the last five seasons in the NBA have not been from America. We want to get back in touch with the kid that is next up.” 

Among the NBA players on hand was Montreal native Bennedict Mathurin, who just finished an impressive rookie season with the Indiana Pacers.

“Growing up rocking Adidas to now having a deal with Adidas, and I walk into the gym and see my face on the wall, it’s great,” Mathurin said. “It’s amazing to see how the brand is growing into the future. Players are seeing the value of what Adidas can bring, too.”

It wasn’t long ago that the 21-year-old had gone from the NBA’s youth academy in Mexico City and summer showcase games to the league, a path all of the players on hand aspire to follow. Having never had the chance to participate in a EuroCamp of his own, Mathurin envisions the event opening doors for attendees.

“Seeing the opportunity that the kids have and the exposure that they’re able to get is great to see,” added Mathurin. “Players are playing against the best players in the world.” 

Adidas EuroCamp
Photo courtesy of Adidas

One of those players is point guard Zoom Diallo, a five-star recruit in the Class of 2024. Diallo quickly made an impact and impression at EuroCamp, showcasing his all-around game and speed up close in front of scouts. He was also able to showcase the qualities that make him a potential future star for a brand, that companies literally scour the globe to identify for potential future endorsements.

That is what makes Adidas EuroCamp an invaluable experience.

“Having the opportunity to come to Italy, this is something new for a lot of players to come out here and compete,” said Diallo, from Tacoma, Wash. “We all have said it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Recognizing as much, Diallo was a sponge as notably the most engaged player of the group. He was looking to gain every ounce of insight from the group conversations with NBA players like Mathurin, Jabari Smith, and Adidas’ newly signed ambassador, Hall of Famer Tony Parker.

“I was always told that if you have the opportunity to ask questions of somebody that’s been to where you want to go, it’s the best thing you can do to obtain knowledge,” said Diallo. “Tony Parker, the fact that he was here as a four-time NBA champ, that was special right there.”

“You have your shy kids, and then you have kids with a lot of personality like Zoom,” joked Parker. “I always said, I would have loved to have that opportunity to talk to an NBA player and ask questions.”

As participants were given the opportunity to chop it up with Parker in an open forum setting, Diallo fired off a handful of thoughtful questions right away.

“I asked him when he first came to the league, what did he need to work on? With him being a 6-2 point guard, what did he do to separate himself?” Diallo detailed. “I watch LeBron a lot, so how did Tony keep himself level-headed through the ups and downs of the 2013 and 2014 Finals? I was asking questions like that, and he was just giving me great info.”

“[He also asked] how you can be prepared and professional as you’re dealing with teams and entering the draft,” recalled Parker. “The NBA is no joke and we talked about that. All of these guys dream about the NBA, and most likely if they make it, they’re only going to play three or four years. When I look at my draft, so many players after one or two years, they were gone.”

As the brand sees it, building that bridge between the greats of the game and the generation to come not only adds to the experience on-site, but also uplifts the future of the sport. The camp was directed by longtime NBA coach Bill Bayno, with seven additional current NBA assistant coaches — including a couple of former head coaches in Alvin Gentry and Lloyd Pierce — and former pros Josh Smith and Rajon Rondo also serving as coaches.

“We’re able to really add in more life lessons on how the players can build their career,” Mason said.

Adidas EuroCamp
Photo courtesy of Adidas

From an investment standpoint, the revamped and expanded EuroCamp format is built to stand as one of the brand’s biggest annual events, warranting a budget north of seven figures. As part of the brand’s most recent reset, which included the “Remember The Why” campaign alongside a new design language across footwear, EuroCamp will serve as a foundational pillar of the basketball category’s efforts.

“The other part is that we’re now based in LA, but at our core, we’re a European brand from Germany,” said Paul Webber, Adidas Basketball’s Senior Director of Global Brand Marketing. “We wanted to re-establish our presence here in Europe through EuroCamp.”

Going forward, the camp’s location may begin to rotate, along with seeing an added emphasis on the ability to live stream the games and bring in a wider global audience. In a partnership with the platform SKWEEK, this year’s EuroCamp was the first to have games streamed online.

“Now that we’ve brought it back, Treviso is going to be a home base, but we also want to figure out, how can we maximize this on a global level, much more?” said Mason. “We want to make sure we’re in key cities and key markets. We also want to maximize it from a visibility standpoint.”

Already, talks of moving the camp to parts of Spain, Germany, or France are in motion, with Adidas looking to outline a roadmap for the next four or five years. Parker is hopeful his Tony Parker Academy in France can one day play host for EuroCamp.

Adidas EuroCamp
Photo courtesy of Adidas

In just three jam-packed days, players like Zoom Diallo came away inspired by the atmosphere and the global life experience.

“The fact that Adidas put on such an amazing event with EuroCamp, to have different parts of the globe come to compete, that just shows how much there’s a love of basketball around the world,” said Diallo. “To play in front of NBA scouts, other scouts, and media, it just shows how much Adidas is looking out for us, and for the future of basketball.”

With a legacy spanning throughout the 2000s, EuroCamp is back for good, allowing Adidas to tap into the next generation of the game.

“Building relationships and providing world-class experiences for them is ultimately what we want to do,” Webber said. “We can create platforms for them and give them exposure. We always say, ‘Through sport, you can change lives,’ and we think there are kids who may not have had the opportunity they’re getting here, and now they might be on the radar, get drafted in the NBA, or go pro in EuroLeague because of this. We want to continue to invest in platforms like this, for years to come.”

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About The Author
Nick DePaula
Nick DePaula
Nick DePaula covers the footwear industry and endorsement deals surrounding the sporting landscape, with an emphasis on athlete and executive interviews. The Sacramento, California, native has been based in Portland, Oregon, for the last decade, a main hub of sneaker company headquarters. He’ll often argue that How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days is actually an underrated movie, largely because it’s the only time his Sacramento Kings have made the NBA Finals.