College student launches designer basketball line, partners with Marvel design team

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Trey Howard. Courtesy Oink Agency

A Michigan native at East Carolina University collaborated with a high-profile design studio to bring a fresh vision to basketball. 

Twenty-one-year-old Trey Howard started his own line of basketballs, launching his company Tr3yball this spring. 

An avid basketball player, Howard created Tr3yball to bring fresh colors to the traditionally orange basketball. He said he wanted to introduce a basketball style that extended beyond the designer shoes and clothing of players. 

“My friends and I are on the court just about every day, and everyone pulls up in their best outfits. You look good, you play good,” Howard said. “I felt that it was about time for a basketball to be part of that equation, and I set out to create an exclusive collection of designer balls.”

To reach this goal, Howard reached out to 9B Collective, a Black-owned concept art studio that works across multiple disciplines, creating designs for television, video games, feature films, animation and more. 

The company’s client list includes HBO, Netflix, Lucasfilm, Marvel and Nickelodeon, with designs ranging from superheroes to video game imagery. 

Howard worked with 9B founders Phillip Boutté Jr., Mike Uwandi and Aldis Hodge, and designer Maybelle Pineda to create the logo and all designs for his first set of basketballs. 

“Working with the folks that bring the magic to Marvel, Sony, (Lucasfilm) and countless others has been absolutely surreal,” Howard said. “Collaborating with creative geniuses (who) are committed to producing deliberate, inspired and meaningful designs is exactly what makes Tr3yball resonate with basketball enthusiasts everywhere.”

Howard also launched a $5,000 Tr3yball Scholarship Fund to encourage entrepreneurship in other students of color by helping them reach their college goals. 

“Beyond making a meaningful contribution to the basketball industry, the greatest impact Tr3yball can have is to give back and lift up the next generation of change-makers,” Howard said. 

Howard attended East Grand Rapids High School, where he graduated summa cum laude. He is heading into his junior year at East Carolina University, where he is studying business. 

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