On the blacktop of Mary McLeod Bethune Day School in Northeast kids of all sizes and ages enjoyed a basketball clinic put on by the Wizards’ G League team staff. The youngsters were able to participate in defensive drills, layup lines, and learned the basics of executing a sound chest pass. These are the types of exercises one would normally learn in instructional or intramural basketball leagues put on by community centers and boys and girls clubs. But normally they are not being taught by former college players, general managers and head coaches of professional basketball organizations.
As much as this was a great opportunity and exposure for the youngsters of Mary McLeod Bethune Day School, this was a chance for the GoGo to make inroads into the community and build a fan base. The GoGo are the G League affiliate organization and play their games at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Southeast D.C., sharing a home floor with the Washington Mystics.
In attendance were a few team officials, including General Manager Amber Nichols and Head Coach Mike Williams. Seeing people of color in management and coaching is important for young African Americans who are heavily represented as athletes but not common in management and coaching. On top of that it’s very rare to see a men’s sports franchise being managed by a woman. Nichols, who is a graduate of the University of Richmond and University of Georgia, worked in ticket sales, for the NBA Players Association, and was the director of basketball operations with the GoGo before being promoted to the General Manager position. Seeing that it is possible to break through and become an executive in a male dominated field such as sports is surely going to inspire some young woman to pursue the same field and make it normal to see women in C-Suite in professional athletics.
The clinic is part of an ongoing relationship with a few schools in the city, according to Assistant Principal Sanjay Singh. The kids from grades pre-K 3 to eighth grade, received free basketball instruction from coaching professionals, and the team has created good will in the community and hopefully built relationships with kids that will turn them into basketball fans, and possibly basketball players and, who knows, maybe even basketball executives. The Capital City GoGo start their season Nov. 5 at the Entertainment and Sports Arena against Westchester Knicks.
To watch the GoGo play their games live or with On-Demand, download access to the Monumental Sports Network.