COLORADO SPRINGS — On Saturday morning, a group of Colorado Springs kids got the chance to shoot hoops with a couple of America's Olympic basketball stars.
“It’s like a dream come true, not only for the kids, but for the adults as well,” said Terrell Brown, President and CEO of Hillside Connection.
Hillside Connection is a nonprofit that uses basketball "to create pathways to opportunity for kids in Southern Colorado Springs". Brown says the event where Hillside kids were able to come play basketball outside of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic museum in the presence of two Olympic participants came together very last minute.
HAPPENING NOW 🏀 at the U.S Olympic & Paralympic Museum: Kids with Hillside Connection getting the chance to #BallOut with #Olympic gold medalist & coaches! Tonight at 4 & 5, hear their message to the kids of Southern #Colorado @KOAA pic.twitter.com/Nla9Qoq8co— Natalie Chuck KOAA (@NatalieChuck) August 7, 2021
Sheryl Swoopes - a 3x Olympic gold medalist and 4x WNBA champion, and Lenny Wilkens - 9x NBA All-Star, Assistant Coach of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team, and Head Coach of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, not only showed the kids some new skills, but also shared their life advice.
"I was right where you are," Wilkens repeated several times to the kids.
"I would tell every young boy or girl out here is just to trust and believe and know that you are good enough, no matter what that is you want to do, and it may not be sports. It may be any other career or path you choose." said Swoopes.
Swoopes says Colorado Springs always reminds her of the place where her "career began", as she remembers visiting Olympic City U.S.A to train for her games.
Brown says he hopes the kids enjoyed the once in a lifetime experience, but above all, that they learned something new.
"Qhen you hear Sheryl and you hear coach Wilkens talk, they're giving you life lessons. Things that are transferable no matter where you go.”
If you think your child could benefit from a program like Hillside Connection, reach out to them here.