ROCKFORD – On the heels of another exciting Fan Fest in his hometown, Fred VanVleet hosted his youth basketball camp in Rockford, tipping off on Saturday.
After he wowed a big crowd at the UW-Health Sports Factory with a surprise visit from the Larry O’Brien Trophy, VanVleet and the NBA’s top prize returned to downtown, with the trophy on display for campers to take pictures. They then took the court for a series of scrimmages, drills, and other teaching sessions to improve their game.
The camp is just one part of VanVleet’s many business ventures, with his clothing brand seen everywhere around town these days after he helped the Toronto Raptors win their first title. He has more plans for the future as he looks to spread his brand well beyond Rockford’s city limits.
“There really isn’t an athlete that has his own clothing brand that’s successful because once you hit a certain point, you sign with Nike or Adidas or things of that nature and you can’t have your own,” says Fred’s brother Darnell, who works with Fred on the business side of things. “You can have a sub-brand under a Nike and to have his own thing right now, it’d be nice to have a big sneaker deal but at the same time with how everything has been going, just the rise we’ve been having, we want to keep it going as long as we can.”
Darnell went on to share thoughts about his front-row seat to his brother’s new role as a father of two, and the tight-knit nature of the VanVleet family business.
“It matured him so much. He was always mature, but now he’s more prominent in what he does. He believes even more in what he’s doing. To me, it’s a validation of all the hard work, he has two beautiful kids, he won a ring. Life is going on an upward path and I don’t see it stopping,” VanVleet said.
“One thing people don’t understand is when you’re an athlete, you can pay someone else to do a job that you can teach your family or friends to do. With that being said, if you pay someone else to do it, you’re going to eventually pay your friends anyway, that’s just how it is, you take care of your friends and family, so why not integrate it. Especially if you have the right family like we do, we’re very tight locked. Nothing gets out. We’re very close to each other, it just fits perfectly.”