Page D2.1 . 04 April 2001                     
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    Basketball Business

    by Diane M. Fiske

    Architect James Carter had the task of recreating the spontaneous atmosphere of a pickup game of basketball. In designing the corporate headquarters for the small but growing sports apparel company, "AND 1," he also had to appeal to unpredictable basketball fanatics.

    The company AND 1 is named for the extra throw a player gets after someone on the opposing team has made a foul. Their business is dedicated to serving the tastes of hip-hop-inspired 11- to 17-year-old basketball players whose likes and dislikes change as often as their shoes.

    Three Guys and a Dream

    AND 1 formed in the early 1990s when Seth Berger, Jay Coen Gilbert, and Tom Austin, received their masters degrees in business administration from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School.

    They decided to avoid Wall Street and instead try to recreate the world of concrete and chain-link-fence basketball they had enjoyed in West Philadelphia near the university, where they had played pickup games between classes.

    Soon after founding their company, the three moved to a little office in Rosemont, a socially exclusive area west of Philadelphia, and began producing T-shirts that carried "in-your-face" slogans such as "Your Game Is So Bad, Call 911."

    They used their Wharton MBAs to develop a solid basketball business based on the demand among young players for street-smart droopy shorts, T-shirts, lids (hats), and shoes. Their office was filled with boxes and crates which employees of the growing business often had to use for furniture.

     

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    ArchWeek Photo

    And 1 greets visitors with a larger-than-life image of the "raceless, faceless player" who signifies the democratic nature of basketball.
    Photo: Jim Hedrich/Hedrich Blessing

    ArchWeek Photo

    "The lane" has graffitti-like murals on one wall and apparel displays and photos of the And 1 team on the other.
    Photo: Jim Hedrich/Hedrich Blessing

     

    Click on thumbnail images
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