Elite basketball skills trainer Chris Brickley recently caught up with HoopsHype to talk about his future plans with his clothing company and his partnership with leading sports retailer Lids.
Brickley, who played D-I college basketball for the University of Louisville and was a player development coordinator for the New York Knicks, owns BlackOps Basketball. The gym has become the home of legendary pick-up games on Instagram featuring players like Kevin Durant as well as pop stars like Drake and Quavo.
He also launched his own streetwear brand in 2016, called Color Blind, which has since been sported by the likes of world-famous celebrities including Justin Bieber and Khloe Kardashian.
Please note that this interview transcription has been edited for clarity.
Your primary work is as a trainer. But you also own the brand Color Blind. What does your design process look like?
Chris Brickley: Basketball is my main thing and training is first and foremost but I’ve always been into fashion and clothes. That is one of the reasons why I started Color Blind. My manager Alex Koblenz and I come up with our designs in-house. We did the logo and the slogans and we have some really cool collabs coming out in the future but it’s been growing since we started it three or four years ago.
How has Color Blind changed in the years since you first launched it?
CB: Each year it has gotten bigger and bigger and we are looking to try and continue spreading awareness. Social media makes it easier to bring these things to light. When we come out with a cool slogan talking about what we stand for and one of my clients wears it, we have a platform where we can post it and push the brand forward which is good because we stand for the right thing. It is something that I stand by, too.
The name comes from a place of activism, too. How does that manifest itself in the designs?
CB: So many of the conversations we are having right now are about equality and justice. I started the brand looking at everyone as who they are and not their color, race or what they believe in. I just want to look at people for who they are. It represents the light in everyone. Some of the slogans we work with are “no one above no one” and “enough is enough” and those are some of the values that we stand on. I wanted my hat to represent equality, seeing everyone for who they are and not what they look like. The message is important. We try and give a message that is relevant in the world and we try and design something that is fashionable.
You work with some of the best basketball players in the world. What kind of feedback have you have gotten so far?
CB: I’ve shown our designs to my clients and they really like it! I’m not going to tell them to push a brand or push clothes onto someone. If they ask me about it, I’ll show them. I want them to stand for what the brand means and actually like the hat and actually like the piece of clothing. So I keep it organic and I try to design hats and clothes that the players ask me for and will wear before the game or when they are out and about.
What are some of your plans moving forward with your brand?
CB: We are going to do new hat designs with Lids Customs. So you will be able to get our logo on the side of any hat in the store. Then we are going to design our own hat, which is also very exciting. I’m super excited. I’ve been a customer for as long as I can remember growing up in New Hampshire. My father and I used to go to the mall and we would go to Lids. It was really cool to get a hat and so to be the newest brand ambassador means a lot. It’s cool to be collaborating with one of the dopest hat stores in North America. That is a blessing.
When you were a kid, do you have any specific hats that you lusted after or knew you needed to have?
CB: When I was little, growing up in New Hampshire, I used to buy Patriots hats and Red Sox hats and Celtics hats. Those are the teams that I was a fan of and it meant a lot to get one of those because everyone in New England is passionate about those teams. It’s kind of cool to walk into Lids now, being a brand ambassador, and picking out one of those.