2 Minutes With ... Kate Perkins, Group Strategy Director at Translation
Kate Perkins is a group strategy director, helming strategy for the NBA at Translation since 2022. Her decade-plus strategy career at the intersection of sports and culture has included brand and creative leadership with major streetwear and sportswear labels, sports-adjacent wellness and beverage brands, and professional leagues and franchises, including the creative direction and inaugural campaign launches of MLS teams Inter-Miami FC and Charlotte FC.
In parallel with her brand work, Kate has been a sought-after voice in sports writing and editing. Since 2011, she has launched, led, edited and written for many sports publications, including SSENSE, the Best American Sportswriting series and The Classical. Most recently, she co-helmed the Victory Journal. She grew up in Philadelphia when Allen Iverson was at the height of his game, and has been obsessed with basketball ever since.
We spent two minutes with Kate to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.
Kate, tell us ...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I was born and raised in Philly, but I've been living in Brooklyn for the last 16 years, so at this point, I consider both places home.
How you first got interested in sports.
I was raised by an athlete—my dad played soccer for an early version of what became Philly's first soccer team—but I fell in love with basketball when Allen Iverson arrived on the Sixers. His style of play—equal parts outrageously creative and explosively athletic—together with his (very Philly-ready) attitude and personal style, made him an instant icon in the city and was my introduction to a life of basketball fandom. I like to describe him as my NBA "conversion experience."
One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.
I've been a writer and editor for longer than I've worked in marketing. My years helming the beloved sports publication Victory Journal, where I was able to write, edit, and collaborate with internationally-revered sports photographers, was definitely some of my happiest. One of my favorite projects with Victory was the collaboration I spearheaded with SSENSE. Together with SSENSE editor Durga Chew-Bose, we tapped photographer Pelle Cass for a shoot on competitive divers that utilized Marine Serre bodysuits. We sourced one of New York's finest film critics, A. S. Hamrah, to write about Pelle's singular visual style. Years later, Durga and I were thrilled to see Pelle tapped for this viral New York magazine cover. VICTORY was a place where discovering reportage and visual artistry in sports was the brief, every day.
A recent project you're proud of.
I loved leading the creative strategy for LaMelo Ball's new Puma shoe, the MB3. The work that came out of it is so fun, so out-there, and so true to who Melo is to the ascendant generation of basketball fans. It's to Puma's credit that they snapped him up early. As a brand, they've leaned in on sponsorships for younger, more emerging athletes rather than established names, and as Gen Z is finding their voice in sports, that approach has paid off.
One thing about how sports is evolving that you're excited about.
As a longtime WNBA stan, I've absolutely loved witnessing male sports fans getting on the W bandwagon. Living close to the Barclays Center, where I can take my sons to see the Liberty, is a dream come true. Now it's time to pay those athletes accordingly.
A book, movie, TV show, or podcast you recently found inspiring.
This isn't recent, but Netflix's F1: Drive to Survive has absolutely set the standard for photography direction and sports storytelling in a contemporary TV format. I loved seeing the plethora of sports docs that have followed. Most recently, like pretty much everyone, I've loved Beckham.
Your favorite fictional athlete.
Gotta be Uncle Drew.
Someone worth following on social media.
Basketball Twitter's finest and my longtime pal, Myles Brown.
Your main strength as a marketer/creative.
As group strategy director on the NBA account at Translation, being a basketball superfan counts as a creative marketing strength. My deep knowledge of (and, let's be honest, personal obsession with) basketball history and culture is as much an asset as my strategic experience and skill set. When you work at a place where what you love is valued, that's a formula for fun.
Your biggest weakness.
Jerseys. Can't stop collecting, won't stop collecting.
One thing that always makes you happy.
Being asked to talk about basketball!
One thing that always makes you sad.
The prospect of Joel Embiid not being a Sixer for life.
Something people would find surprising about you.
I don't know if this is surprising, but something not a lot of people in my work life might know is that I'm a lifelong musician. I grew up playing violin and now spend my free time playing guitar.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in sports.
Writing, editing and chasing stories.