It is a known fact that by age 14, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate that boys do. There are multiple factors that play into why girls don’t continue in sports, but at the top of the list is always lack of access. Nike is doing its part to change that.
In honor of this year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup being held in the Philippines, Global sports brand Nike created a safe haven for young women and girls to play the game of basketball, and build community in the heart of Bonifacio Global City, dubbed The Courtyard.
The Courtyard is designed to grow the community through basketball while expanding sport for the next generation. The space features two FIBA regulated basketball courts, one half court training zone, locker rooms, showers, a green room, and a rooftop. With Nike having such a strong focus on sustainability and circularity, it's no surprise that the two courts are made from the rubber outsoles of about 30,000 pairs of recycled shoes.
The passion and excitement for the game of basketball in the Philippines is extreme.
The reason it is such a beloved sport is because It’s fast paced, it can be played in groups or individually, and it doesn’t take much equipment. Over time, it has become an essential part of the culture and community of the Philippines. “You put a hoop anywhere, and all you need is a ball. No other equipment, you don’t even have to own shoes. That’s number one in the Philippines, accessibility,” said Mariana Lopa, the Managing Director of the nonprofit organization ‘Girls Got Game.’
Now as mentioned before, most girls drop out of sports early on because of lack of access. More specifically in the Philippines, while there may be a court on every other corner, access to those courts are few and far between. The Courtyard being a free basketball court designed with the intention of empowering women through sport is pivotal to young girls and women in the Philippines who aren’t given much opportunity or access. The Courtyard covers an area of 2,182 square meters, but the impact it can have on these young athletes is immeasurable.
A major difference between the Philippines and other countries is that the Philippines doesn’t have a women’s pro-league. With no women’s pro-league and limited access to live broadcasts of the WNBA, it can be difficult for young girls to see the boundless opportunities there are for women in basketball, both on and off the court. So the importance of The Courtyard isn’t just about having a space to play games or do skills training. It symbolizes representation, opportunity and the future of women’s sport within the Philippines. “We don’t have a professional league so most of our girls are really playing because they love the game. There’s a certain purity when I coach them,” said LA Mumar, the Ateneo De Manila University women’s basketball head coach.
The love for basketball runs deep in the Philippines, and whether you’re playing to make it pro, or playing just to be a part of something, Nike has created an environment for Filipinas to feel celebrated and equally represented on and off the court.
Nike’s purpose is to move the world forward through the power of sport, but sport has no power without women.