Vanessa secretly wants to join a basketball league (I guess it’s not so secret now, as I just blew up her spot), because she thinks she needs to exercise more (and quit smoking, ahem).
So Vanessa shows up to this local basketball game only to find our good friend Rachel there shooting hoops with some intimidatingly cool girls.
Welcome to Hoop York City.
A bunch of super cool, artistic girls from all walks of life who make basketball, and their monthly game, a priority.
Super cool if ya ask us.
We asked Alex a bit more about the community she’s created with her basketball team!
Can you tell me a bit about your background and how basketball has been woven into your life?
I started going to camps and playing basketball when I was young, maybe 10 or 11, and played through my junior year of high school. I loved it – going to practice after school, riding the bus to games with my team; I enjoyed the camaraderie among the girls I played with as much as I did the sport. That’s still true today. That’s the best thing about basketball and any sport really, it’s an amazing way to make friends.
Everything about basketball, even the culture and fashion has always had a huge influence on me. I was wearing jerseys to school and cornrowing my hair like Allen Iverson when I was in Junior High. I carried the game with me even after I stopped playing for many years. I think when you are introduced to something at a very young age and you fall in love with it, it never really leaves you.
What spurred you to create the team, Hoop York City?
I moved to New York about seven years ago and spent years being intimidated by “New York City basketball.” You assume you have to be as good as the guys that play outside in Harlem, or the 6 foot girls that played in college. There was also this idea that if you join a team then you have to show up to every practice and play in tournaments. I saw a lot of those full-commitment options when I was looking around for a team to join. It was only two years ago that I discovered a rotating group of girls that played on Grand Canal Court and began to play with them that summer. I made a lot of fast-friends that way and it gave me the juice to start Hoop York City.
It’s my opinion that the more opportunity women have to create spaces of their own, the better. I wasn’t concerned with stepping on any toes or being ‘another women’s basketball team’ because the truth is, there are only so many of them. We all support each other; many of the girls that play on my team also play on others, and I do too! We just want to play the game.
How often do you all get together and practice?
One of the greatest things about the girls who play with Hoop York City is that they are all ambitious; a mix of entrepreneurs, designers, marketing professionals, etc. They are all working women and they. are. BUSY. I created this team for women like them. I’m hoping to lock in a schedule where we are getting together consistently one day every other week, though I am still working to secure an indoor home for us this fall (any leads welcome)!
What type of community do you hope to build and provide with Hoop York City?
I like the term “community” rather than team because it implies inclusivity and that’s really important to me. I want Hoop York City to continue to be a place where women can come laugh, build friendships and play the game they love; I want it to be something women look forward to like they looked forward to a practice after school.
There will be times where it’s just us on a court scrimmaging and there will be times when we’ll be on the court in uniform, playing for a crowd with a DJ on the sideline. I think it’s important to mix it up because at the end of the day, I want the women who show up to feel recognized and celebrated as much as possible.