A youth sportswear store in Newport, RI opens on Thames Street

While working as a volunteer youth basketball coach and touring the country with his team, Paul Barboza Jr. saw an opportunity to fill a need when he noticed a significant shortage of clothes his daughters could afford. at the events of the Amateur Athletic Union.

“We were traveling everywhere and I didn’t see a lot of clothes being sold at these girls’ events,” Barboza said. “I’ve been calling my daughters’ queens on the court ‘since they were in fifth grade, so I was like,’ I’m going to make a girls’ clothing line called Court Queens, ‘but I realized that you could not have a queen without a king. So I made kings and queens of the court.

Barboza created two clothing lines: Queens of the Court, for girls, and Kings of the Court, for boys, and combined them under the common name. The clothing, basketball-themed sports and leisure wear, is laid out at opposite ends of Suit C at 547 Thames St., the brick-and-mortar Barboza location that opened in June.

The brand’s distinction between girls ‘clothing line and boys’ clothing line also goes beyond clothing. Barboza is setting aside a portion of the proceeds from Queens of the Court to fund breast cancer organizations, where a portion of the proceeds from Kings of the Court will be used to teach young men about domestic violence.

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“Domestic violence is important in sport, so at the end of the day to make changes you have to start with the young,” said Barboza. “I think we are all born kings and queens … So I guess you have to teach young people how to act and walk like a king, and treat women like queens to be a king.”

Beyond his volunteer work as a coach, the Central Falls native has helped and developed programs, such as the RJH Basketball League and Academics Before Athletics, dedicated to reducing crime rates and improving outcomes. notes of the children of his town. He said he refused to take money to coach young basketball players.

The interior of the Kings and Queens Court Shop on Thames Street.

“I got a basketball scholarship, so I got free education to play ball,” Barboza said. “The game was given to me for free, so I’m giving it back for free … if I got the money, I would do it for the wrong reasons.”

When Barboza originally decided to launch his clothing brand in early 2020, he planned to sell the clothing at AAU events. After the pandemic shut down live sports, Barboza ran his clothing store online and away from home before hearing his family in Newport talk about a space he could use to open his own brick and mortar .

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“I’ll be honest, I got down on my knees and prayed,” Barboza said. “I talked to my cousin about something, and I believe God got the message through him, because right away we started talking… he said ‘Why don’t you come to Newport ? ‘ and just when he said I got goose bumps, and I said ‘Thank you, Lord.’

In addition to decorating the exterior of the store like a basketball court, Barboza also added backlighting to the sign to make it stand out at night. Barboza said there has been a constant flow of customers since it opened, from young children coming to buy drinks from its fridge to tourists and residents peering around the store. Although he runs the store mostly solo for now, Barboza hopes to hire employees soon, as he plans to return to youth basketball training next spring and run his store at the same time.

The storefront of Paul Balboza Jr.'s new sportswear store, Kings and Queens of the Court, is decorated like the goal of a basketball court.

“At the end of the day, it’s a year-round store no matter what,” Barboza said. “It’s just going to be on God’s time, so I’m not worried. It’s just a matter of time. When you put something good there, it will always find its way back. “

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