Nike Game Growers Highlights Local Sacramento Youth
By: Molly Weber
In honor of National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Wednesday, the Sacramento Kings are highlighting two local girls who are making a difference in the community by paving the way for more female participation in basketball.
This past winter, the Kings selected two local students as the team’s representatives for the Nike Game Growers program. This program recognizes eighth-grade girls in the community who are committed to growing the game of basketball and provides them with the tools and resources that they need to do so.
To share the exciting news, Mascot Slamson and Kings Emcee Scott Freshour hit the road to surprise the girls at their schools. The selected students, Leah and Sianna, are the captains of rival basketball teams, yet grew close because of their shared interest in helping to develop girls’ basketball in their area. The girls were then invited to Golden 1 Center to be honored for their award in-game as the Sacramento Kings took on the New York Knicks.
In 2016, Leah started a kindness campaign called BecuzIcare11 to encourage more kindness in the world by creating and distributing homemade bracelets that are designed to be passed on to others. Leah and Sianna built upon this concept to create their Game Growers idea, Nike x BecuzIcare, which they hope to use to help provide more girls with the opportunity to play and develop their skills.
Expanding upon Leah’s original BecuzIcare mission, the girls plan to sell Nike x BecuzIcare bracelets to fund opportunities for girls to play in Nike sponsored leagues with female coaches and mentors. By doing so, they hope to encourage more girls to have the confidence to play basketball and continue with the sport as they grow up.
In January, the girls, along with the Game Growers teams selected by other WNBA and NBA teams, attended the Game Growers Training Camp at Nike’s World Headquarters. At the training camp, facilitated by GENYOUth, Game Growers teams received support and mentorship from Nike and WNBA and NBA teams to refine their ideas and attended panel discussions where they learned from prominent women within the sports industry. While there, the girls also got to meet and collaborate with like-minded students from all over the country who have similar goals of increasing female participation in sports.
In April of this year, select teams will be invited to the WNBA Draft in New York City to present their ideas. The Sacramento Kings and Nike are both dedicated to promoting and encouraging female equality throughout the sports world.