Michael Linklater, who plays in the Canadian Elite Basketball League with the Saskatchewan Rattlers, has been announced as the new face of the Nike N7 sneaker and athletic wear collection.
The Cree athlete from the Thunderchild First Nation started playing basketball at age 11.
But his his basketball career really kicked off at Mount Royal Collegiate. Thereafter he helped the University of Saskatchewan Huskies claim their first and only national championship and is ranked the number one three-on-three basketball player in Canada, 13th in the world.
This year he was drafted to the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s Saskatchewan Rattlers for their inaugural season and he may even be part of Team Canada when three-on-three makes its debut at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The athlete also runs basketball camps and clinics for Indigenous Youth and said he wants to lead by example by having a healthy and active lifestyle — recognizing that indigenous people were not originally as sedentary as modern living has become.
Linklater also said that the design elements on each item have a cultural significance and make a powerful statement using inspiration from Indigenous art.
Nike N7 started in 2009 with a goal to provide sport and physical activity programming to kids in First Nation communities in North America. The N7 fund gives communities the chance to apply for funding for sports initiatives.
According to Nike, the N7 Fund has awarded more than $6.6 million in grants to 252 communities and organizations, reaching more than 437,000 Indigenous youth.
Tinker Hatfield, who is well known for designing many of the Nike Air Jordan models, came on board for this year’s N7 summer collection.
Hatfield designed two pairs, the Nike Zoom Heritage N7 and Nike Air Zoom Down Rock N7, a shoe that Taboo from The Black Eyed Peas, also helped create.
The collection is available at Nike stores across Canada.