Gordon Hayward wants to help young girls stick with basketball

Oct 08, 2018 | by Nina Mandell, For The Win

Gordon Hayward is joining Steph Curry in what could be one of the best emerging trends from NBA players: A girls-only clinic as part of a new Jr. NBA program meant to encourage the next generation of girls to stick with the game.

“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,” he said. “I think it’s very important.”

For Hayward, it’s an issue that’s close to home: He has two daughters – the older one, who is three, loves to play catch with him (and a third one on the way). And both girls do gymnastics.

“We’re just trying to get them involved in sports as much as possible so they can experience everything that sports has to offer,” he said. “And maybe they’ll like one of them and we’ll roll with that.”

His clinic clinic in Boston on Saturday is part of a new Jr. NBA initiative “Her Time To Play,” which pairs girls-only clinics with free curriculums for organizations to help give young female athletes life skills and confidence on the court in an effort to encourage 7-14 year old girls to play basketball.

Each chapter shares the personal life stories and reflections from WNBA players such as Skylar Diggins-Smith (who is also an ambassador for the program.)

‘Representation matters,” said Diggins-Smith.  “Her Time To Play is an important step towards ensuring that young women have access to mentors and others invested in helping them achieve success.”

The goal is to get them to stick with sports to help build their life skills and confidence.

Right now, Hayward said, his daughters know that he goes to play basketball with his friends at “the basketball house.” He said the most important thing he wants to teach them is that sports are fun and you play because they’re fun.

After suffering a brutal leg injury at the start of the 2017 season, Hayward’s wife Robyn posted photos on Instagram of their daughters helping to cheer him up. Now that he’s back on the court, he said, they are still helping with the rehab process — but aren’t as thrilled with the outcome.

“I think they’re not happy with me right now because I leave all the time and they don’t want me to leave but then I explain to them that I have to go to work and I’ll be home later that night and they’re like ‘OK, that’s fine Daddy.’

They are starting to understand a little bit. And they know that daddy’s boo boo is all better and that’s good, that’s cool.”

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