Close to 50 Brooklyn girls got to live out their hoop dreams on Sunday when they followed the Brooklyn Nets’ invitation to a free, all-girls youth clinic at Barclays Center.

An all-female group of instructors, including staff from the Nets performance team and members from Hoop York City, a local organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for women to play basketball, conducted the clinic.

Photo courtesy Brooklyn Nets

“Clinics like these are important because women still are not as involved in sports,” said Jana Austin, member of the Brooklyn Nets performance team. “Especially for me as a woman, it’s important to encourage others to get involved, be physically active and realize that Basketball is not just a men’s sport. We as women are just as powerful, and we can play it just as well as men can.” 

According to nonprofit PowerPlay NYC, which works to advance the lives of girls through sports, girls in NYC are 50 percent less likely to participate in sports than boys. Yet, if girls do not get involved in sports by the age of 13, it’s unlikely they will ever participate. The Brooklyn Nets hope to help curb that statistic by providing opportunities that empower young women to engage in sports, representatives said.

“Basketball teaches you many life lessons, allows you to stay physically activity, be around a great group of people and make new friends,” said Austin.

Photo courtesy Brooklyn Nets

Sunday’s clinic was the first of 40 free clinics the Brooklyn Nets Basketball Academy (BNBA) will host throughout the city this summer. The BNBA Summer Clinic Series teaches basketball fundamentals and teamwork skills to youth, ages 6-14. By the end of the summer, officials hope to have reached more than 2,000 participants by the end of the summer.

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