In celebration of Women’s History Month and in conjunction with the Her Time To Play initiative, the LA Clippers hosted 50 female LA Y Jr. Clippersplayers for an all-girls clinic and panel, featuring Clippers Assistant Coach Natalie Nakase and WNBA all-time leading scorer and four-time Olympic gold medalist Diana Taurasi. ESPN reporter Holly Rowe served as the event’s moderator.
Held at STAPLES Center, the 30-minute panel discussion was followed by a 50-minute skills clinic led by female LA Clippers staff members who played professional or collegiate basketball.
“My dream came true,” said Ava, a 9-year-old Jr. Clippers player. “I’ve always wanted to step foot on the STAPLES Center basketball court floor. What a great experience!”
Her Time To Play is a national grassroots initiative created by the WNBA and NBA to inspire the next generation of girls, ages 7-14, to play basketball in a positive and healthy way. Through sports, girls learn important life skills, such as teamwork, leadership and self-confidence. However, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation, twice as many girls drop of out sports, in comparison to boys, by age 14. As only 28% of youth sports coaches are women, Her Time To Play also aims to increase opportunities for women in coaching and athletic leadership across the youth sports landscape.
With a perfect ending to the day, our Jr. Clippers were treated to a 115-109 victory over the Indiana Pacers as each participant received two tickets to the Clippers game that evening. Jr. Clippers players were selected to give Clippers players high-fives as they headed onto the court while Vanessa Lopez of West Valley Family YMCA and Olivia Plunkett of Ketchum-Downtown YMCA were honored as the game’s Community Heroes.