Recap: UPB’s She Hoops Clinic
By Ellie Lieberman
Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic is well known to basketball fans everywhere as a superstar; however, many are unaware of a person responsible for igniting his fire, none other than his older sister, Elise Gordon.
Elise played basketball at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose and then at Harvard. Beyond being named Most Improved Player for the Crimson, Gordon studied politics and eventually earned her
Master’s degree from USC. Her influence extended beyond the court and classroom, with her working diligently as a personal manager for Aaron, per Marc Spears of The Undefeated. She’s an important asset in helping Aaron with endorsements, finances, appearances, and her fluency in Spanish has been a massive asset for changemaking in Orlando. Now, she’s working to make the game of basketball more inclusive through her Play Make Hers series.
Though all three Gordons, including Drew, who is currently playing for Stelmet Enea Basketball Club in Poland, have been staples at UPB, Elise’s impact cannot be overstated. This October, Elise and Packie brought the first Play Make Hers clinic, She Hoops to Burlingame. These clinics are meant to inspire girls and women of all ages to pursue various paths on and off the basketball court, as well as the values that come with the game. In an article with Mitch Stephens of The San Francisco Chronicle, Gordon spoke of her goal in creating these clinics; “I want to provide a safe and welcoming space for young women hoopers to develop their skills both on and off the court.”
The clinic at UPB was made available to girls of all ages, from Kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as boys. Appearances at the October She Hoops included countless college and pro basketball players include current Stanford superstar and high school player of the year, Haley Jones, former Santa Clara guard Iman Scott as well as the most beloved photographer in the NBA, Cassy Athena. She currently has over 200k followers on Instagram and has shot the likes of LeBron James and Steph Curry. Beyond being an overwhelming hit, She Hoops was also for a worthy cause because 10% of camp proceeds ultimately supported breast cancer research and awareness.
Just last week, Gordon held her second Play Make Hers clinic at the Amway Center in Orlando. With the backing of UPB, the Orlando Magic, and the biggest ballers in and around the game, the Play Make Hers clinics have a bright future ahead.
Behind the creation of UPBYCF lies years of activism for both Turners and a sustained interest in bettering communities in The Bay Area. They know the statistics that six times as many low-income students drop youth sports when compared to those from high-income families because of access (Aspen Institute Project Play Initiative). They also know firsthand the power sports has to build character because “a survey of 400 female corporate executives found 94% played a sport and that 61% say sports contributed to their career success (EY Women Athletes Business Network/espnW, 2014). The launch of UPBYCF is bounded in these statistics and in past experiences both Turners have had with nonprofits such as The Boys and Girls Club, Big Homie Project, and Play MakeHers. Yearly clinics at UPB have focused on women’s empowerment, and tackled issues like access to sports, and hunger.