Unveiling the Official Hoopfest 2017 Nike Basketballs

Nike’s Mark Wong (left) and Travis Morscheck (right) pose with the official Hoopfest 2017 basketball, which they helped make possible.

For Hoopfest 2017, we’re highlighting our wonderful Spokane city skyline as our theme. Through our partnership with Nike, that vision can be seen in this year’s official Hoopfest ball.

This year, we have not one, but two official Hoopfest basketballs — anthracite and circuit orange (pictured on the left above) and light blue with black liqueur (right).

“Travis is one of the great Nike advocates that’s very familiar with the event,” Hoopfest’s Executive Director, Matt Santangelo says. “Once you see the event, you fall in love with it. Travis uses his familiarity with Hoopfest and passes that on to his counterparts, who take on the project knowing it’s a labor of love. Since Nike doesn’t have an NBA basketball, they tell me this is the NBA All-Star game to them. It’s one of those weird things where Hoopfest is an important piece to the Nike world, which is really cool to say.”

The ball was designed by Nike Product Designer, Mark Wong, and Product Line Manager, Travis Morscheck. Mark and Travis knew last year’s gold basketball was going to be hard to one-up, so they ensured they would follow it up with something creative — something that encapsulates Spokane.

“With our cityscape theme, we wanted to highlight how Spokane transforms into Basketball City, USA every year,” Matt explains.

“We really worked collectively as a team with Matt (Santangelo) and Bailee (Neyland, Hoopfest’s Director of Brand Strategy and Business Development). As we’ve grown with them, we developed a relationship where honesty is our best policy,” Morscheck adds.

To Morscheck, designing the Hoopfest ball has a special meaning. He’s a Pullman native with 10 years of Hoopfest playing experience under his belt. “It’s been really fun to be involved on the product side, because it was such a big part of my childhood growing up,” recalls Morscheck.

“With important elements of our event each year, such as the official game ball by Nike, we work a year or more out,” explains Bailee. “Efforts for this year’s ball began essentially after Hoopfest weekend ended with a product meeting to discuss direction, colors and strategy. And the Nike team has been hard at work ever since to take the vision to completion.”

“Mark really started to evolve and hone in on some of the iconic features of Spokane to design a graphical interpretation of those buildings and structures,” says Morscheck.

“It was Travis’ vision; I just did what I could to bring it to life,” Wong clarifies.

Wong is not from Eastern Washington like Morscheck, so he familiarized himself with Hoopfest and Spokane through Google. It was Mark’s creative work with the help of Hoopfest’s direction on deciding what street names and features to highlight on the ball.

The two previously worked on a basketball which feature a map of New York City, which is part of where they got their inspiration. This time, Spokane Falls Boulevard, Washington Street, Post Street and Riverside Ave adorn the rubber ball.

Be sure to look for the official Hoopfest basketballs, which will be available for purchase Thursday, June 22 through Sunday, June 25 at the Hoopfest Store presented by Nike.

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