Thursday marked an historic moment, as a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Aboriginal Basketball Academy (ABA) and Basketball Australia (BA), ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students have access to pathways to play basketball and become leaders.
Launched in Adelaide, the initiative forms part of the She Hoops program – BA’s national women and girl’s platform – that aims to close the gender gap and ensure all girls have access to facilities and resources to realise their potential.
Four-time Olympian and Head of Women in Basketball at BA, Lauren Jackson AO OLY, was on hand to guide the students through on-court drills and a leadership session.
“This is so exciting for She Hoops and the ABA as together we can provide incredible programs to these girls to ensure they have a pathway that incorporates education and basketball,” Jackson said.
“The ABA has a fantastic program and we are delighted to add value through our resources and financial support. We always say that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ so having the opportunity to come out into the community and showcase what I’ve learnt and help these young athletes is an absolute privilege.”
Founding Board Member of the ABA, Scott Whitmore, is excited about the benefits this partnership will bring to the students.
“The ABA was established in 2017 and it’s a school retention program first and foremost for year 10-12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who study in the morning and play basketball in the afternoon,” Whitmore said.
“Our aim is for our students to have an increased understand and knowledge of their Aboriginal culture and to continue their education to year 12. The partnership with Basketball Australia is invaluable as it allows us to access programs such as She Hoops and talent like Lauren Jackson, Annie La Fleur and Ally Wilson.
“Improving pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids is key for us and we are delighted to partner with BA,” enthused Whitmore.
Olympian and World Cup Opal, Annie La Fleur OLY, joined Jackson on-court to deliver a session to the girls and was full of praise for the initiative.
“She Hoops is such an important program to ensure that these young people have access to the facilities and resources to help them become great leaders and advocates of their heritage,” La Fleur said.
“It’s exciting that two youth leaders from the ABA will, as part of the She Hoops Indigenous program, have the opportunity to participate in FIBA’s Youth Leaders Workshop in September in Auckland.”
A leadership program which commenced today will run for the next four months by She Hoops Ambassador Ally Wilson. Wilson is an Indigenous athlete who recently returned from Europe after claiming a bronze medal for Australia in the FIBA 3×3 Championship and plays for Bendigo Spirit in the WNBL.
For more information on She Hoops www.shehoops.com.au.