This one is for Gigi Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli, Payton Chester. This one's for all the mambacitas, #girldads, for Sabrina Ionescu and Paige Bueckers. For all the ballers like Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi who’ve paved the way we look at the game of basketball not just as a matter of wins and losses but as a way of life.
In tandem, the beginning of 2020 has weighed heavily on the lives of Americans everywhere. We lost a massive advocate to women’s basketball, and legend in his own right, as well as future superstars such as Gigi Bryant. We will never get March Madness with Ionescu doing it for Kobe, Aliyah Boston, Megan Walker, and the continued coaching prowess of Dawn Staley and Geno Auriemma. We lost more than words can describe, but in times like these, we must remember what we gained.
With the blessing of Kobe, we’ve gained a whole pack of people rising up to finally get women’s basketball the attention it deserves. Laine Higgins of The Wall Street Journal described the so-called “Sabrina Effect” in massive surge prices for women’s games at schools such as Oregon, UConn, Mississippi State and Cal. At these universities, Higgins points out that the resale value of tickets for women’s games trumps that of men’s games. The outpouring of support for female players at all levels has become evident in recent months. Karl Anthony-Towns and DeAngelo Russell showed up to watch Bueckers, the cream of the crop in the 2020 class, ball at Hopkins in Minneapolis. WNBA free agency is tearing up the news cycle with Skylar Diggins headed to Phoenix to join forces with Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner.
At UPB, we are committed to being a part of the change to always support and empower female ballers. In February, we hosted an 100% free clinic for local girls and were met with a full gym and 30+ attendees. The presence of strong female role models in our gym from Sabrina Ionescu to Sue Bird and everyone between defines our brand, and we look forward to only building up women’s basketball in the future.
There’s one particular exercise Clair Steele will never forget from UPB. And that’s Packie’s famous five-minute plank that would be thrown in at the end of workouts. Clair Steele used to dread those planks.