In October, Gordon Hayward put on a clinic during the NBA’s fourth annual Jr. NBA Week. However, Hayward’s clinic featured a new component, the launch of “Her Time To Play,” a league initiative aimed at girls ages 7-14 in an effort to inspire them to play basketball.
For Gordon, this initiative hits close to home as he has two daughters with a third on the way. So it is fitting for him to be able to promote this kind of message, and playing sports is something Hayward believes creates a positive impact on both boys and girls.
“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,” Hayward said. “I think it’s very important.”
Participation in sports positively impacts the well-being of youth, but twice as many girls as boys quit sports by the age of 14, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. Her Time To Play is trying to change that.
The initiative will provide hundreds of youth organizations with a free curriculum consisting of on-court basketball training and life-skills lessons designed specifically for young women to prepare them for the challenges of adolescence.
The curriculum includes a several lessons on nutrition, teamwork, self-confidence, mental wellness, body image and bullying.
Her Time To Play also aims to increase the number of women in coaching and youth sports. The Jr. NBA will provide opportunities for more than 500 new coaches to receive their USAB Coach License.
Her Time To Play is a big step by the NBA in making the game of basketball more inclusive, while continuing to use the sport to instill values in kids and teach them valuable life lessons.
Gordon has always tried to ensure his kids are active, so the mission of Her Time To Play is easy for Gordon to support because he preaches the same values to his own children.
“We’re just trying to get them involved in sports as much as possible, so they can experience everything that sports has to offer,” Hayward said. “And maybe they’ll like one of them and we’ll roll with that.”
The clinic is hopefully just the start of a successful initiative that will impact the lives of many children for the better, giving them something to be passionate about while also benefiting their health and wellness.