Kahleah Copper and Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky have a lot on their plate. They are in the midst of a run to help their team repeat as WNBA champions with the playoffs in two weeks. But they still manage to find time to give back to their community in a meaningful way.
On Thursday, in conjunction with the Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation, Copper and Quigley took part in Sports Matter Day, which is an initiative aimed at encouraging youth sports participation by providing local kids with all the equipment, amenities, and motivation needed to be successful in sports. At Winstrut Arena, both players joined NBA legend Scottie Pippen in offering 32 youth organizations and 10,000 youth athletes in Chicago water bottles, apparel and gear as well as sharing with them important life lessons that sports provide.
Furthemore, the initiative pledged $500,000 to DonorsChoose’s Equity Focus initiative, which is aimed at racial equity in school sports programs. This initiative hits close to home for both players who know full well all the holistic benefits that sports can provide, especially when given that opportunity at a young age.
“I think sports taught me how to be a team player,” said Copper. “I think it also taught me discipline and our team to be disciplined.”
There is undoubtedly empirical research concluding that youth sport participation improves the quality of life for kids. Studies show that when kids are participating in well-structured and organized sport, the benefits range from better socioemotional and mental health, high academic performance, and healthy lifestyles. Also, it is crucial for kids to be in the presence of such high profile and successful athletes who they can identify with. And given the recent success of the Sky, they got plenty to cheer for and learn from, particularly on this day.
“They were excited and it was nice to see their curiosity,” said Quigley. “It was just inspiring.”
This day of giving back happened to occur on the same day as Brittney Griner’s sentencing in Russia. Given that she is known for her activism and community involvement, seeing her fellow competitors take part in an initiative like that would have made her immensely proud and given her strength at a time when her resolve is being tested.
“Obviously we are sad,” said Quigley. “The main thing is trying to get her back.”
When it comes to basketball, both Copper and Quigley remain focused on the task at hand, as the Sky continue to be the best team in the league and at the right moment. Coming off a convincing 93-83 victory over the Mystics on Friday, they have never looked better. Even with a few scrapes here and there, their versatility and determination has gotten them to this point.
“We are locked in on us,” said Copper. “We just want to continue to get better.”
Whether it is on or off the court, the Chicago Sky remain a venerable presence in the lives of their fans. This day of promoting the widespread joy that sport provides is just the latest example of why they are a team to be celebrated and cherished. Whatever happens going into the playoffs, the sight of two of Chicago’s prominent ballers giving back will be etched in the hearts and minds of those kids for years to come.
You can find more information on Sports Matter Day here.