Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty partner with NYC Public Schools to host free basketball clinics for Brooklyn youth

Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty set up basketball clinics at public schools
A first-ever partnership between the Brooklyn Nets, New York Liberty, and New York City Public Schools celebrated with the first of many upcoming basketball clinics organized by Nets and Liberty players for Brooklyn elementary and middle schools P.S. 001 in Sunset Park on Wednesday, March 22, 2023.
Courtesy of BSE Global.

Brooklyn youth are getting their own version of March Madness through a partnership between the city’s Department of Education and the borough’s home basketball teams, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty.

The partnership announced on March 22 will offer free basketball clinics taught by youth coaches from the Nets and Liberty to all Brooklyn elementary and middle schoolers during their gym periods. 

“It’s a real honor for me to be here with all of you today to celebrate this momentous partnership with the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Liberty,” said Schools Chancellor David Banks. “It’s so rewarding to see our Brooklyn leadership already taking these strides to reimagine the student experience in their own districts.”

The partnership’s first basketball clinic, held at P.S. 001 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, featured Nets forward Cameron Johnson and Liberty center Jonquel Jones, as well as Nets Head Coach Jacque Vaughn. 

“We just want to pour ourselves into you because you guys are the future,” Johnson told the youth, recalling his fourth- and fifth-grade days playing basketball. “Opportunities like this are so special. Hope you guys just embrace it.”

Jones pointed to an alarming statistic for the young girls in the gym: Girls drop out of sports by the age of 14 twice as often as boys, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

“We don’t want that to happen,” Jones said. “Even if you’re not a WNBA player or NBA player, there’s gonna be so many people that you meet along this journey, and so many characteristics and things you can do to become a better person through the game of basketball.”

Jones shared her experience growing up as “a little girl from the Bahamas” and the doors that basketball opened for her.

“My first year out of college, I played in China. I played in Korea. I’ve been all over Europe, Russia, Turkey,” Jones said. “These are all places that I’ve met amazing people and had amazing experiences. Those opportunities wouldn’t have been afforded to me if it wasn’t for the game of basketball.”

Rafael Alvarez, the superintendent of Brooklyn School District 15, pointed to a couple of students in the crowd who had shared their basketball goals with Alvarez.  

“I already got one that told me that he wanted to be an NBA player,” Alvarez said. “I want you to remember that you actually have a community around you that believes in you and believes in those dreams.”

The Nets and Liberty will host 20 clinics every week at elementary and middle schools in Brooklyn that will be chosen on a rolling basis. Students will be able to not only pick up basketball fundamentals, but also life and leadership skills from the coaching — all while getting in a great exercise.

It’s not the first time the city’s home teams have engaged with the city’s youth or held youth basketball clinics. Both teams previously held after-school clinics at Brooklyn schools. 

The Liberty also partnered with the city to create the Junior Liberty Basketball League for hundreds of high schoolers across the city to participate in community service and leadership workshops.

Both the Nets and Liberty partnered with the city’s Department of Environmental Protection last June to open a renovated schoolyard, complete with basketball courts and a running track, at Juan Morel Campos Secondary School in South Williamsburg. It currently has the capacity serve around 4,600 children in the community. 

The Nets-Liberty-DOE program hopes to reach around 50,000 students by the end of the year. Sam Zussman, the CEO of BSE Global, the parent company of the Nets and Barclays Center, told the audience that he hopes to engage with even more students beyond this year.

“We’re hoping to touch 50,000 to 100,000 kids every year going forward,” Zussman said. “We really look forward to deepening our relationship with New York City Public Schools and in share our unwavering commitment to serving this community and to serving the residents.”


New York Liberty center Jonquel Jones (from left), Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Jacque Vaughn, Head Clinician for the Brooklyn Nets Basketball Academy Dell Bethea, and Nets forward Cameron Johnson speak to students during the first-ever joint basketball clinic held by the Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty at the P.S. 001 in Sunset Park on Wednesday, March 22, 2023.Courtesy of BSE Global.