It wasn’t the victories on the court but it was the amazing triumphs off the court that made these girls true champions.

wanna ball

During the 2012-13 season, the McClymonds High School girls basketball team became a powerhouse on and off the court. Within a two year period, they went from a program known for decades as a loser, to champions of the Oakland Athletic League, the first since 1976. What the team accomplished on the court was definitely staggering, but the bigger breakthrough was off the court. The personal hardships these girls had to face were countless; from the murders of friends and siblings to being the primary caretaker of a mother affected by HIV. It’s a lot more than any teenager should have to navigate through, and for this group of young women, life and games take on a different meaning.

Basketball is a breath of fresh air, an escape, a safe haven. It gives them a chance to avoid the trappings of the urban environment that await so many young women. Basketball motivates them to focus on and off the court; the team maintained a 3.9 GPA during their championship season. These girls are not done yet, and they have no plans on giving in or giving up on themselves or life. Basketball has taken and will take them to a whole different world. If you ask the team what they want to do, their response would be “I JUST WANNA BALL.”