P.F. Chang's is joining with Jeremy Lin and Kickstradomis to turn a negative into a positive. Nearly one year ago while playing in a high school basketball game, multi-racial players Nathan Stockman and his teammate, Bobby, a young man who is now a Division 1 student athlete, were taunted with vile racist chants by students from the opposing school. Bobby, who is African-American, was berated with jabs about being illiterate, on welfare, or on drugs. Nathan, who is Asian-American, was subject to chants about opening his eyes and going back to China. He was also called P.F. Chang's. While most would react with justifiable anger, Nathan and Bobby chose a different route. They saw the value of rising above their bullies' horrific words and instead decided to turn them into something empowering.
"When Nathan's mom called to let us know that her son was planning to decorate this season's basketball shoes with P.F. Chang's logo as a sign of strength against his harassers, we couldn't sit on the sidelines," says P.F. Chang's CEO, Jim Bell. "We're a restaurant that does not stand for racism or bullying in any form, and we find Nathan and Bobby's display of courage and confidence inspiring. In fact, we consider them to be an embodiment of many of our core values, and we think these exceptional young men deserve to be celebrated."
P.F. Chang's reached out to Jeremy Lin, whose foundation focuses on anti-bullying, and who has also suffered racist bullying throughout his athletic career. Within hours, Lin responded and agreed to help—he also worked with his corporate partner, adidas, to support the cause by donating sneakers to Nathan and Bobby.
This weekend, Lin and P.F. Chang's will host a "Magical Moment" for Nathan and Bobby, along with their immediate families, including dinner at P.F. Chang's and tickets to the Atlanta Hawks vs Milwaukee Bucks game, where the Hawks will arrange for them to sit courtside during the pre-game warmups. They will also get to meet Jeremy Lin. Additionally, P.F. Chang's is partnering with Los Angeles sneaker artist Salvador Amezcua, known as Kickstradomis, to make sure Nathan gets his first wish granted—basketball shoes emblazoned with P.F. Chang's logo. The adidas James Harden Vol. 3 shoes, customized by Kickstradomis, will be unlike any other shoe in the world. Bobby will also get a crisp pair of adidas Harden Vol. 3 basketball shoes in white, his preferred style.
"Hate speech is frightening and silence in the face of it is inexcusable," says Mina, Bobby's mother. "Not only is Bobby an accomplished athlete, he works hard in the classroom. As he begins his second quarter in college, it's hard to believe this even happened to him. This weekend reminds us that character matters and that hard work and integrity win."
"While their intent was clear and hurtful, we continue to wonder why these students believed that chanting 'Asian' and 'P.F. Chang's' would take down a proud Asian American like Nathan," says Susan Stockman, Nathan's mother. "He has never sought to hide, or hide behind, his heritage. It didn't take long for Nathan to embrace the P.F. Chang's label, turning adversity into personal power. We are thrilled that this negative event is turning into an experience of a lifetime—one that Nathan will never forget."
News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by FSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.