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Regarded as one of the best athletes to ever touch the court, nine time NBA all-star Russell Westbrook is determined to support HBCU design students through a new partnership with PepsiCo.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – SEPTEMBER 21: (L-R) Pensole Lewis student Rodney Banks, Pensole Lewis student Angel Buckens and NBA All-Star and Entrepreneur Russell Westbrook attend PepsiCo and Russell Westbrook attend the unveil of the student-designed Pepsi x Frito-Lay Refresh and Relax Lounge at Detroit’s Pensole Lewis College, the first and only HBCU dedicated to design at Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design on September 21, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images for PepsiCo)

Russell Westbrook partners with PepsiCo

In September 2023, Russell partnered with PepsiCo, the organization known for snacks such as Lay’s Chips and Doritos, to create a lounge at Pensole Lewis College, designed exclusively by the students at the university. 

The HBCU is mostly recognized for excelling in teaching both design and business. Not only did Russell help unveil the lounge at the college, but he took the time to talk with the students. PepsiCo will also be donating $25,000 to Diversity in Design.

Russell reflected on the collaboration and said that, “I share a mission with PepsiCo in wanting to create educational opportunities and provide valuable resources to young people who don’t always get the same support as their peers. Together, we want to inspire and encourage students to continue their creative journey and pursue a career in design.”

They have yet to announce whether this is just the beginning of lounges they might develop at HBCUs across the country.

What does Russell Westbrook know about fashion?

It may seem surprising that an NBA player is giving back to a design school, but Russell has been very involved in the fashion industry for the past few years. He founded his own proven sustainable and successful apparel brand, Honor The Gift.

Basketball might be where he started, but it will not be the only venture that will make up his legacy.

“Basketball is the axis that allows me to do the things that I do. I have so much love for the game and it gives me to the option to be able to jump into fashion. I really love that they’re both different ways to express yourself; basketball is one way to express yourself, as is what you wear,” he told Time. Which one does he do better?

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – JULY 13: Russell Westbrook attends Variety and Sportico’s Sports and Entertainment Summit, presented by City National Bank at 1 Hotel West Hollywood on July 13, 2023 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto Rodriguez/Variety via Getty Images)

True Religion

Before launching his own apparel brand, Russell served as the Campaign Creative Director for the popular clothing company True Religion.

“To find a way to be creative and bring my creative side to True Religion,” the athlete told Complex. “Obviously is a great brand. They’re fresh, and they have different washes in denim, and my job is to be able to come in and try to find ways to be creative.”

Who knows? Maybe Russell’s next step in his fashion career will be designing the NBA jerseys for himself and the other players. Only time will tell.

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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