The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boys & Girls Clubs located at 2950 W. Washington Blvd., steps from the United Center received a serious upgrade. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, in partnership with Nike, refurbished the center’s basketball court, locker room and game room in time for the start of All-Star Weekend.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago and Nike have been working together for years to bring sports to the children of Chicago. In speaking with Mimi LeClair, CEO & President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, she said Nike has supported the organization without looking for fan fair. “They both believe in the power of sports to build community and unleashing human potential. Through basketball, we have the chance to help kids, especially girls and young women, grow and thrive”. Nike supplied the club with sports training and uniforms for basketball teams.
Nike also created an All-Star Academy that will continue beyond the 2020 NBA All-Star weekend. The Academy will help this club’s children learn through the game with on-the-court skill-building and hands-on learning off-the-court in the areas of sport design, sport science, and coaching. The Academy will also include a sports journalism class taught by Chicago sports journalist, ESPN’s Scoop Jackson.
The upgrade of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Boys & Girls Club fulfills a promise Chicago-area native Virgil Abloh, and the NikeLab Chicago made in 2019 to power up the community and shine a light on the city and youth of Chicago. Twelve-year-old Boys & Girls Clubs member, Trenton, has been attending the west side club since the 1st grade. He was thankful for the shoes Nike gifted all the children at the viewing of the new court. He said that when he grows up, he will be returning to this club to help children the same way he was helped. The future computer coder or lawyer also said he has created many memories by attending the club three times a week as a member.
It’s clear that partnerships like those between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago and Nike help to level the playing field for kids who face more barriers to sport and play than others. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago and Nike celebrate basketball culture while also furthering its commitment to get kids active, provide access to safe sports play and inspire the next generation of basketball players in Chicago. The space will be open throughout All-Star Weekend for area children.