OKC Thunder and Nike seek to grow girl sport participation

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Thunder and Nike are joining forces to help girls create inclusive and meaningful sports experiences for other girls in their community.

The Thunder and Nike are launching Game Growers, a new program that gives eighth-grade girls the opportunity to pair-up, develop ideas and work with participating NBA and WNBA teams to inspire more girls to play and love sports, according to the Thunder.

Credit: Oklahoma City Thunder

“We know that kids who play do better in every way – physically, emotionally and academically – yet this generation, and girls, in particular, are the least active in history. We want girls today to be game-changers and problem solvers, and Game Growers helps amplify their voices, lifts up their ideas and equips them to succeed – on the court and in life,” Caitlin Morris, general manager of Nike Social & Community Impact, is quoted as saying in the news release.

Girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys by age 14, the news release states.

A Women’s Sports Foundation 2018 study shows that 40 percent of girls don’t participate in sports. The study found that only 25 percent of boys don’t get involved in sports.

Game Growers enables girls to contribute ideas on how to make sports more fun in their hometown.

“Partnering with Nike to cultivate this program in Oklahoma City gives young women in our area the chance to use their voices to inspire their peers and our community,” said Thunder Senior Vice President Brian Byrnes. “We look forward to seeing how Game Growers and the Thunder can create meaningful connections and change for these young athletes.”

Game Growers tips off at 6 p.m. CST Friday with a conversation and co-stream hosted by former collegiate basketball player Keke Sevillian and featuring actress and rapper Sky Katz, A’ja Wilson from the Las Vegas Aces and Terri Jackson, director of operations for the Women’s National Basketball Players Association. You can watch the stream by going to Nike’s YouTube channel or the WNBA’s Facebook page. Click here to sign up to stream the conversation.

Teams of two eighth grade girls can apply now until Nov. 15 at 11:59 p.m. PST at www.gamegrowers.com.

“Game Growers participants will be notified by Dec. 15, 2019, and will earn a chance to develop their idea to get more girls playing sports in partnership with a WNBA or NBA team and Nike,” the news release states. “They’ll also have the opportunity to attend the Game Growers Training Camp at Nike World Headquarters in January 2020.”

Selected Game Growers Game Plans will be shared during the Game Growers Showcase at the 2020 WNBA Draft in April.

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