Hoop Dreams

Clint Capela to Houston Foster Kids: 'I'm Like You'

The Rocket stars in a heartwarming new Nike campaign with DePelchin Children's Center.

By Abby Ledoux October 10, 2019

A new Nike spot for Air Force 1s is based right here in Houston. The "Move As 1" commercial, which went live yesterday via House of Hoops by Foot Locker, stars Rockets starting center Clint Capela along with kids and young adults at DePelchin Children's Center, and it's a tear-jerker.

The video opens on a basketball court at DePelchin, where Capela sits with a small group who share their difficult experiences growing up in the foster care system. "Because of some of the experiences that we go through, they label us as troubled kids," one says.

"It isolates you and makes you feel like you're not a part of normal society," adds another.

"So it was exactly the same for me," says Capela. The 25-year-old athlete grew up in Switzerland; when his single mom, a Congolese immigrant with three sons and no other family nearby on the verge of homelessness, struggled to provide for her kids, she turned to a government program for help. Capela spent seven years in foster care, and that experience formed the basis for his mission with the CC15 Foundation, the Houston-based non-profit he launched earlier this year to help kids like him from low-income, single-parent families and those in foster care.

"We were all having this dream of being something someday," Capela says in the video; his audience at DePelchin nods knowingly. "You always want to feel normal. It's not easy. It doesn't just come overnight."

Capela found purpose through sports, first playing soccer and later, at 13, basketball at the behest of his older brother, who he soon outgrew. (He's 6'10.) Capela went pro at 17; two years later, he landed in Houston with the Rockets, and the rest is history.

"When I was younger, I watched TV and you'd be practicing at the free-throw lines," one young man tells Capela in the Nike spot. "You know, that was kind of motivating. I was like, man, I want to be that guy."

There's footage of Capela hanging out and shooting hoops with the kids, all decked out in Nike gear. DePelchin says those featured in the video are former foster kids who've been adopted and residents of the on-campus TAGS program for young adults aging out of the system. "I'm like you," Capela says in the video. "You're like her. You're like him."

The star athlete does this kind of thing off-camera, too. Just before Christmas last year, when he announced his CC15 Foundation, he came bearing gifts for kids living at DePelchin. In August, he surprised 30 kids from single-family homes with a back-to-school shopping spree.

The Nike commercial ends with a final voice-over from Capela: "As foster care kids, we have to stick together to prove you're more than what people think you are."

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