by John Russel Jones

The Black Fives, Negro League, Harlem Globetrotters, and Rucker Park all helped build the foundation for the sports we watch and enjoy today. Without their contributions, little of what we see on our favorite field or court would be the same. To help these entities’ legacies live on, licensed sports apparel retailer Lids introduced the They Gave Us Game program last year to elevate leagues, teams and athletes from decades past that have changed the game for the better. As part of the initiative, a portion of the proceeds from the collections goes toward the Lids Foundation.

From sponsoring the Buena Vista Grays youth baseball team – the team Negro League legend Josh Gibson played on during his childhood in Georgia – for its trip to the Negro Leagues Youth Classic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to working in tandem with Rucker Park in New York City’s Harlem to make a difference in the community, the platform has made major impacts in a number of communities across the country.

In June, the Lids Foundation announced a $50,000 donation toward the opening of one-of-a-kind, generational project within the new  Mace’s Lane Community Center in Dorchester County, Maryland, that is designed to honor the history of the African American educational experience in Cambridge.

Additionally, the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., is partnering with the Kansas City Royals / Royals Charities in February, sponsoring free admission to the Museum for Black History Month. Lids is also offering a discount code to museum visitors. Discount cards are being distributed through the end of the month and the promotion is valid through March 13th.

  • Lids caps honoring teams from Negro League Baseball.

Beyond giving back to the community, last week, retro sports apparel company Ebbets Field Flannels and Lids debuted brand-new merchandise honoring teams from Negro League Baseball with core and pinstriped jerseys, and pinstriped shorts.

Lids also unveiled a new advertising campaign last week. Dubbed “Make Them Look,” the operation spotlights emerging Black talent through a collaborative creative lens. With this campaign, Lids is leaning into its decades-long basketball roots by highlighting five emerging Atlanta-based creators — stylist and designer Charlie Chuck, sneaker enthusiast Kayla G., digital content creator Kaylyn, digital content creator Ranen Turner, and creative director and stylist Zoe Dupree — who personify Lids at the intersection of sports and streetwear. Each creator was given the freedom to design their own looks and stylistic design for their portion of the campaign. To bring this campaign to life, Lids partnered with notable photographer and videographer, Cam Kirk.

Lead photo by Frank McKenna.