I sat down with Shakir Hammadi to discuss his companies The Baller Media and Jersey Nation. Here’s what you need to know.
In an interview with the creator of Jersey Nation, here is some perspective on basketball in Australia. Shakir Hammadi also discusses how he built the successful Instagram page, The Baller Media, and his growth in establishing Jersey Nation. With 168K followers on Instagram, the company has shown a massive amount of growth in a short amount of time.
What’s Up Man! So you started The Baller Media, which has obviously had a ton of success on Instagram (113K Followers); how did that originate?
So I started the page in 2019 around June. I actually got a lot of inspiration from other pages, like Sideline Sources, and saw the news they are posting. So during the time I was actually in high school, I thought, why not start it and from there went really well. I started posting news, and then the page started gaining followers like really, really rapidly. I think I gained around 100k in around one year and I just would post every single day, consistently- post the news, free agency, and it just went up from there.
Wow, that’s impressive. Did this all just originate as you being a fan of the NBA and basketball in general?
Yeah, I’m a big fan of the NBA, a big fan of LeBron James. I was actually gonna make it a LeBron James fan page but thought it’d be best to keep it NBA-wide.
So you have kinda evolved a little bit from that and started something called Jersey Nation. Could you talk about that a little bit?
So I’d say around six to seven months after I started The Baller Media, I made Jersey Nation. Having The Baller Media to promote Jersey Nation has helped it skyrocket. With Jersey Nation, we reached out to a lot of NBA players and celebrities, and that really helped our brand grow. We got PJ Dozier; he plays for the Denver Nuggets, he wore one of our jerseys pregame. Also, we’ve had Emmanuel Mudiay, we’ve had DDG pose, which was a lot of money, but it was most definitely worth it- it helped the brand a lot.
Wow, that’s impressive. Those are big names early on. I guess it ties right into The Baller Media, but how did you fully decide to start making jerseys?
I was actually in high school, 17 at the time when I started it, and I was working in a supermarket, and I just got sick of it. I really wanted to be my own boss. I actually reached out to around 20 factories, and I finally found the one. The unique jerseys that they were selling appealed to me, and then I reached out to a freelance graphic designer, started making a lot of costume jerseys, and people were loving them. Advertising on Facebook, Snapchat, and then also moving into Tik Tok really helped us a lot as well.
So for the people who aren’t familiar with the company, is it all jerseys, or what is your primary product?
Our jerseys range from movie and TV show jerseys, high school jerseys, custom jerseys, hockey jerseys, and baseball jerseys. We have quite a range; we have over 400 (different types of jerseys) in our collection.
Would you say that’s what sets you apart from other jersey sites?
Yeah, most definitely, I would say that it’s the jerseys. We host giveaways every single week. We try to build a community that can get everyone involved to win free jerseys and things like that.
That’s awesome. So you are based out of Australia, so to touch on some Ben Simmons and Sixers news, what are your thoughts on the Ben Simmons situation?
Right now, I think Ben Simmons is… he’s a great player, but it’s really hard to pinpoint what it is. I think, um, I think he just needs to focus a little bit more on the basketball side of things. Like what happened in the playoffs, it was different. It’s different from how he first came into the NBA. The stats show that his numbers have dropped since he’s been in the NBA. It’s really hard to pinpoint what’s happening.
Yeah, from my perspective, I definitely think it’s mental. There’s got to be something going on that’s beyond just an on-court issue. Do you think there is a future with Ben Simmons and the Sixers, or do you think the time has come for a change in scenery?
I would say it would be good to bring him back and just see how things go because he did day in his press conference that he was going to have a big offseason. He also declined to play for Australia so that he could focus on developing his skills. I would say it would be good to bring him back, but a change in scenery wouldn’t hurt. It looks like Philly are in discussions with other teams, according to Shams.
Being from Australia, what are your thoughts on him opting out of playing for the country. Shout out to you guys for the recent victory over team USA as well.
Yeah, honestly, I think he’s declined to play for Australia for a little while now. He’s said that he was, but yeah, he actually hasn’t. So if he is working on his skill set, I think it’s the best for him. It’s probably the best move. He knows what’s best for him, so at the end of the day, it’s not too much of a big deal.
There has been a large amount of growth as far as basketball in general in Australia when you see all the talent coming out. How awesome is that to see, and do you think you are capitalizing on the beginning of this?
Yeah, most definitely. I’d say about five years ago, the NBA and basketball, in general, weren’t too big in Australia, but there was a big turning point. I’m not sure what it was, but it has really grown here. Everyone plays basketball, everyone watches the NBA, so it’s really good to see. This is especially seen with the Australian players that have been coming through (to the NBA). You got Josh Giddey, who we are also about to be working with through Jersey Nation; he’s about to be drafted. Patty Mills, Date Exum, there’s a lot of great Australian basketball players.
Yeah, it’s awesome to see how global the NBA has become so quickly. You’ve obviously already mentioned a couple but are there any other players that you guys have built a relationship with?
Yeah, so we’ve also worked with Nick Young, Jaxson Hayes, Jared Vanderbilt, and we’ve also started to work with a couple of the Last Chance U players– Joe Hampton and Deshaun Higher. We’ve also reached out to a lot of NCAA athletes now that they are allowing them to be paid. One of the players we are about to be working with is Greg Brown.
That’s impressive, and that’s another huge opportunity to capitalize as it is pretty much-uncharted waters as far as the NCAA allowing that to happen, so certainly a lot of potential there. Is this something you think is going to be more widespread movement as far as not just you at Jersey Nation, but all companies as a whole will be attacking more:
Yeah, most definitely. As soon as that was passed for athletes to be paid, you just saw the number of companies reaching out to them, and the NCAA players were welcoming it. I actually sent out around, I would say 200 to 300 DM’s to all these NCAA athletes, and we got a good return. So in the next couple of weeks, we will be working with them, sending them out jerseys and all that.
Would you say that’s your primary focus right now, or is there anything else up and coming on the horizon for Jersey Nation?
Right now, that is one of our primary focuses, to work with NCAA athletes. Also, we are looking to branch into working with AAU teams and making their jerseys.
Both The Baller Media and Jersey Nation are great follows on Instagram, and you can look here at their impressive collection of jerseys. It was a great conversation with Shakir, and looking forward to see how his companies develop in the future.