‘Her Time To Play’ gives Utah girls their own basketball camp

Feb 18, 2023, 7:06 PM | Updated: 7:10 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — There are lots of ways to get better at basketball. Practice is one of the best ways.

So is getting lessons from professional players like Jasmine Thomas of the Los Angeles Sparks is why roughly 300 basketball players aged 8-to-18 from Utah were at the Salt Palace Saturday morning.

“Dribble! Go! Nice!” said Thomas while running some drills.

There were shooting drills, as well as stations for players to work on dribbling, shuffling, and passing.

“It taught me a lot about how to pursue my dreams about being a basketball player,” said 13-year-old Brooklyn Call.

Jasmine Thomas of the Los Angeles Sparks working with the girls. (KSLTV’s Alex Cabrero)

For this clinic, though, it was girls only. It’s called “Her Time To Play.”

“To be able to work with young women and inspire them and make sure they have confidence and believe it what they’re doing, it’s important,” expressed Thomas.

Her Time To Play is designed by the NBA and the WNBA to try and keep girls interested in playing sports. The clinic was part of the NBA All-Star Game weekend in Salt Lake City.

“There are so many things you can learn from it,” said Thomas. “From positive body image to believing in yourself to the confidence of it and the discipline of it.”

That positive self-esteem is why many parents brought their daughters here.

“That’s the coolest part about it is seeing her confidence build and just knowing that she can do what her brother does. It doesn’t matter if she’s a girl. She’s better than he is anyway,” said Ryan Nielsen with a laugh as his young son looked up in disbelief.

Ryan Nielsen with his daughter during the camp. (KSLTV’s Alex Cabrero)

However, maybe more important than the skills they learned on the court was listening to professional players talk about life off the court when they were kids.

“When I grew up, I was super shy,” said Isabelle Harrison, who plays for the Chicago Sky. “I was tall. None of the girls looked like m. I just did my own thing.”

The pros wanted the girls to know it is okay to be different.

“A fun fact about me? I play basketball in my glasses. I see you right there,” said Diamond DeShields, who plays for the Dallas Wings, while pointing to a girl in the crown who was wearing glasses.

Perhaps the speaker who got the most attention, especially from parents, was Malala Yousafszai. She is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient known worldwide for her activism for girls’ education.

One of the girls asking Diamond DeShields and Isabelle Harrison a question. (KSLTV’s Alex Cabrero)

Yousafszai was attacked by the Taliban in an assassination attempt in her home country of Pakistan when she was only 15 years old for being outspoken.

“There are even countries which have literally banned education for girls,” she said.

Malala, as she is known, wanted these girls to know that although sports are important, so is a quality education.

“If that is to become a doctor or a teacher or an engineer, a politician, or a sports person,” she said.

These are lessons these girls most likely were not expecting from this clinic, but they are certainly something they all enjoyed learning about.

“It was fun,” said Call. “Yeah, I had a good time.”

KSL 5 TV Live

KSL All-Star Access

A promotional video showing the LED court that will be used during the All-Star games....

Tim Reynolds, AP Basketball Writer

NBA set to play on an LED glass court for some All-Star weekend events

For the first time, the NBA will play on glass. Part of All-Star weekend in Indianapolis — including the entire All-Star Saturday Night lineup — will be played on a state-of-the-art, full video LED court.

4 months ago

(KSL TV)...

Katija Stjepovic

Local Black-owned businesses participate in weekend retail experience

Many Black-owned businesses saw a welcomed economic boost from NBA All-Star weekend. Now, the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce wants to keep that alive with a new weekend retail experience.

1 year ago

Bottles of alcohol...

Shelby Lofton

State says temporary liquor store set up for All-Star weekend was a success

State officials say the temporary liquor store set up for NBA All-Star weekend was a success, but they're also looking at ways to improve.

1 year ago

Savanah Norman...

Tamara Vaifanua

Local makeup artist stands out during NBA All-Star weekend

KSL TV's Tamara Vaifanua introduces us to a local makeup artist who picked up her most famous client to date – Gabrielle Union.

1 year ago

This week on Sunday Edition, Doug Wright and his guests look at the impact the NBA All-Star weekend...


Sunday Edition: NBA All-Stars, Legislative Session 2023 Final Weeks

This week on Sunday Edition, Doug Wright and his guests look at the impact the NBA All-Star weekend will have on Utah and the final weeks of the 2023 legislative session.

1 year ago

(Ryan Young)...

Debbie Worthen

Utah father, son given free tickets to NBA All-Star Game after chance encounter

A father and son from Draper, Utah, got the surprise of a lifetime during the NBA All-Star weekend.

1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

‘Her Time To Play’ gives Utah girls their own basketball camp