As a father of two daughters — with another on the way — Boston Celtics star Gordon Hayward is especially devoted to helping young girls build confidence.
That’s why he’s joining Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry in a powerful movement designed to utilize basketball to instill courage and tenacity as girls move into adolescence.
Hayward is the latest NBA player to host a girls-only basketball clinic. It’s all part of the Jr. NBA’s “Her Time To Play” initiative, a campaign conceived by the Women’s Sports Foundation, which was created to “inspire the next generation of girls, ages 7-14, to play basketball in a positive and healthy way.”
“I think that’s very positive and very healthy for girls to play sports because there’s a lot of life lessons they can learn through that,” he told For The Win. “I think it’s very important.”
The clinic, which will take place on Saturday in Boston, will combine on-court skill development with off-court life lessons to foster self-esteem and teamwork.NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 15: WNBA Player Skylar Diggins speaks on the pannel during Nickelodeon Sports Little Ballers Indiana Pre-Screening at Viacom Screening Room on February 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for CMA Productions)
Because twice as many girls compared to boys drop out of sports by the age of 14, NBA players like Hayward and WNBA players are joining forces to combat the trend and keep girls active in years that are often filled with angst. The reasons girls tend to back away from sports as they age include social stigmas, lack of access and a lack of positive role models, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.
“Representation matters,” WNBA star and Her Time To Play ambassador Skylar Diggins-Smith said. “Her Time To Play is an important step towards ensuring that young women have access to mentors and others invested in helping them achieve success.”
That’s why at each clinic, WNBA players and other female basketball players will share their personal stories with attendees as well.
The curriculum of the program caters to volunteer coaches or administrators who are teaching the game for the first time. It also provides seasoned coaches or administrators with material to incorporate critical life skills into team practices.
So, which NBA superstar will be next to host an all-girls basketball clinic? Time will tell, but it’s certainly a direction worth moving toward.