Under Armour, NBA and RISE Tip Off Fourth Annual Chicago Building Bridges Through Basketball Program at NBA All-Star
In partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), Chicago Police Department and Union League Boys & Girls Club, Under Armour tipped off the fourth installment of the Building Bridges Through Basketball (BBTB) at Chicago’s Union League Boys & Girls Club, a ten-week program designed to break barriers, build trust and bridge divides in the community. The program brings together youth and law enforcement from the Humboldt Park, Pilsen and Englewood neighborhoods for basketball clinics, facilitated conversations and RISE leadership activities to explore concepts such as identity, diversity and stereotyping and teach skills such as empathy, conflict resolution and teamwork.
On Friday, Feb. 14, local youth, law enforcement and leaders came together for the unveiling of a newly refurbished court designed by Project Backboard in honor of the program’s fourth year at the Chicago’s Union League Boys & Girls Club. Thirty youth participants ages 13-18 from past Building Bridges Through Basketball programs and CPD officers participated in a series of basketball rotations, which included a three-point contest, skills challenge as well as an All-Star scrimmage, all led by NBA players and legends. Five youth students have participated in the program for the past three consecutive years - Angeles, Erica, Malcolm, Willie and Xavier.
Scenes above from the court refurb at Chicago's Union League Boys & Girls Club led by Project Backboard
The program will begin its weekly sessions on March 10, engaging youth in 2.5-hour sessions that combine on-court basketball training with RISE’s leadership and cultural competency curriculum focused on themes such as perspective taking, privilege and community building. NBA Voices is the league’s initiative to address social injustice, promote inclusion, uplift voices and bridge divides in our communities. As part of this effort, the NBA family has brought together more than 13,000 youth and members of law enforcement since 2016. Previous multi-week Building Bridges Through Basketball programs have taken place in cities across the country including Charlotte, Detroit, New Orleans and Los Angeles.
Since BBTB first launched, it has reached hundreds of young people and officers in communities around the country. Basketball is a team sport with a longstanding history of breaking down barriers and bringing people together and, with this ethos, BBTB continues to create cohesion in communities.
In July 2019, UA received the ESPN Sports Humanitarian Corporate Community Impact Award in recognition of its work with BBTB. The ESPN Sports Humanitarian Awards recognizes athletes, teams and sports industry professionals who use the power of sport to make a difference throughout the world. Under Armour's involvement in BBTB comes through its UA Freedom initiative, which supports those who devote their lives to defending their country and helping their communities.