Clippers community summer basketball clinics

Housed in the Pecan Recreation Center, tucked away underneath the 101 freeway in north Los Angeles, just one of the 10 Clippers Summer Basketball Clinic programs was in full swing. The sound of the freeway barely distinguishable over the thumping of dribbled basketballs and the squeal of laughter echoing off of the gymnasium walls.

Donning stark white Clippers t-shirts and brightly colored nametags, hundreds of clinic participants seemingly could not stop smiling as they rotated from station to station. Sleeves rolled up and shirts tucked in, the playfully competitive nature of the clinic was easily seen through the participants’ visible teamwork, belly laughs, and ear-to-ear grins.

The Clippers Summer Clinic programs provide children in the greater Los Angeles communities with a variety of free activities during the summer months, encouraging exercise, fitness, and most importantly, fun. Going beyond clinic participation, these summer programs also encourage children and adults to live and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

Since the program’s inception in 2006, more than 23,000 youngsters have participated in the Clippers Summer Clinics program. Basketball is just one of the clinics offered along with swimming, bowling, and trips to the Santa Monica Pier. These programs are offered to members of the community at no cost, assisting those families who may not have the financial means to contribute to their children’s summertime activities.

Pecan Recreation Center was the perfect location to host a clinic according to José Lopez, the Senior Recreation Director for the facility.

“These clinics add another element to these kids and to this community,” Lopez explained. “I see a lot of kids emulate the NBA player here and they strive to be someone like that. It gives these kids a goal and someone to look up to.”

For Carl Cooper, Principal Recreation Supervisor II for the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks, the Clippers summer clinics provide a great experience for the youth community.

“These kids don’t usually get these opportunities,” he said. “These clinics provide a healthy outlet, allowing these kids to come out and have a really great day with a great organization. It shows that the Clippers really care about the community and that’s important.”

Along with guidance and supervision from experienced Clippers staff, the clinic participants get additional advice from an NBA professional. Clippers alum Sean Rooks, who takes on a coaching role within these clinics, is passionate about the importance of getting kids involved in the sport of basketball.   

“These clinics give kids a healthy alternative,” said Rooks. “This opportunity allows kids to come out and be interactive, get some exercise, and become familiar with the game of basketball. Mostly it gives these kids positive figures to be around.”

Additionally, the participants got the chance to be involved with learning everything they could about the sport of basketball throughout the day. From dribbling drills to push-ups and defensive maneuvers, kids are encouraged to work hard and have fun.

One of the clinic participants, Jordan Brown, a fifth grader from a surrounding community explained that his favorite part of the basketball clinic is “learning how to dribble.”

“It’s a good program to teach you how to play basketball,” Jordan said. “It feels good to play like a Clipper for a day.”