Jalen Ramsey. Zeke Elliott. Laremy Tunsil. What do all these football stars have in common? In addition to their insane skills and bright futures, they’re all Nike The Opening Alumni.
Nike has hosted the elite 7-on-7 competition for years at their incredible Beaverton, OR headquarters and if you want to know what the future of football looks like — you’d better pay attention. Only the best of the best high school recruits are even invited. They are the players who will dominate Saturdays and Sundays for years to come.
This year, Eastbay got a golden ticket and will be on-site for all the weekend’s action. From behind-the-scenes practices to the tournament itself, we’ll be there for it all — giving you unprecedented access.
Check back to this blog post all weekend for updates from our football writer, Jake Zipperer, who will be on the sidelines chronicling the whole experience. Also make sure to follow us on Snapchat and Instagram where we’ll peel back the curtain and post tons of live, exclusive content.
Friday, June 30
7:30 PM PST
To start one of the biggest football events of the year, you’ve got to go big — really big. Nike brought down the house at the Nike The Opening kickoff ceremony and got 166 of the top high school athletes more motivated and hyped than they’ve ever been before.
The event was so exclusive that media wasn’t allowed, but Nike gave Eastbay a VIP pass to break down all of the action and there was plenty of it. You want pro football guest stars? There were four of them. The freshest style and swag? Nike made special football gear just for this event. How about a speaker to pump the athletes up? They brought in Dr. Eric. Thomas. Yeah… That’ll work.
This is the 7th year of Nike The Opening and the brand wanted to pay homage to their famous alumni by unveiling their first-ever Opening Hall Of Fame class. They enshrined an offensive and defensive player and this year’s honorees were San Francisco’s DeForest Buckner and Tennessee’s Derrick Henry. Pretty good company, huh? Both pros were brought out to speak to this year’s class and detail how The Opening made a huge impact on their football careers.
Later on, the six teams got to finally see what their uniforms looked like at a jersey unveiling. Each of the six teams (Vapor Speed, Untouchable, Savage Pro, Mach Speed, Lunar Beast, and Alpha Menace) had one of their players come out to rep their new colors and style. The big surprise came at the end of the unveil, when Los Angeles’ Cooper Kupp and Tennessee’s Adoree’ Jackson showed up to model the jersey’s that the two championship teams will rock.
But let’s get to the real show stopper of the event: Dr. Eric Thomas’ amazing speech. The pastor and author gave an incredible speech about what it takes to make it to the top. He spoke directly to the players, recounting his own personal experiences and letting them know the secret to success: unflinching dedication. I could try to describe how inspiring and motivational his speech was, but let’s be honest — I could never reach his level. Here’s what I can say: he got these guys pumped and ready to take their game to the next level.
This weekend is going to be amazing. Let’s do this.