An exciting partnership will create a legacy for community basketball from the huge success of the 3x3 format of the sport at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. England's Men and Women claimed the inaugural Commonwealth Games 3x3 medals, winning gold and silver respectively on a triumphant night in Birmingham.
A significant financial investment will be made to develop 3x3 and 5v5 basketball participation opportunities for adults and young people – creating and enhancing up to 20 great basketball spaces in the city to be enjoyed for generations. Birmingham City Council and Basketball England, with support from Sport England and National Lottery funding, will be able to significantly bolster the basketball infrastructure in the city for local communities and the grassroots game, as well as providing the opportunity to take part in a range of 3x3 events.
The collaborative agreement is a major part of Birmingham City Council’s legacy strategy and is set to run over a 12-18-month period. It will also form part of Basketball England’s #ProjectSwish campaign, which was launched in 2019 to improve and promote local spaces to play outdoors.
Basketball England CEO Stewart Kellett said: “We are delighted to work in partnership with Birmingham City Council and Sport England to create new opportunities to play basketball in local neighbourhoods. The investment will give young people and adults the opportunity to influence the design of some amazing spaces to play basketball and involve the wider community. This is a start of a new momentum for basketball making it more visible and more accessible.”
Councillor Mariam Khan, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “We have always been clear that bringing the Games to Birmingham is not just about 11 days of fantastic sport, but also about the legacy it leaves for all communities and future generations.
“With Birmingham being one of the youngest and most diverse cities in Europe basketball has huge potential to grow and increase the number of people engaging in physical activity in the city, particularly through the introduction of 3x3 as a legacy of the B2022 Commonwealth Games. The link between physical activity and improved mental health is well documented, and this is particularly vital right now for young people whose mental health has suffered so much during the pandemic.”
Sport England CEO Tim Hollingsworth said: “One of Sport England's priorities around the Commonwealth Games is to create local opportunities for people to get active that are affordable and accessible. The evidence shows that basketball in Birmingham is incredibly popular with young and diverse communities, but there is currently a lack of courts.
“This new investment and partnership - which is part of our overall investment of £35million into the Games - will allow more people in Birmingham, and nationally, to play basketball in their local community. We’ll be working with local clubs and communities to co-create these new and refurbished courts so that people feel a real ownership over them.”
Birmingham’s Myles Hesson started his basketball journey in the city, playing basketball with his brothers, before growing and honing his skills with local grassroots clubs City of Birmingham and the Birmingham A’s. His professional career has taken him to Europe and Asia, <and now has won medals for his country>.
Hesson said: “News of a basketball legacy plan, backed with financial investment, in my home city makes all the blood, sweat and tears my teammates and I put into our Birmingham 2022 campaign even more worthwhile. Ultimately, grassroots basketball is where the love for the game, and physical activity, is sown. It’s also the first stage to creating and moulding champions.
“We have inspired thousands of children and young people, and adults through our 3x3 performances and a high-level of interest in basketball is bound to follow once the Commonwealth Games come to an end. It’s right we leave the next generation not only with great memories but high-quality basketball facilities to enjoy.”
The exciting 3x3 form of basketball - which is played on a half court on one basket with just three players per side - made its Commonwealth Games debut at the Smithfield site in Birmingham between 29 July and 2 August and was a fan favourite. Basketball is Britain’s joint-second most popular team sport amongst young people after football.
According to Sport England’s Active Lives survey, more than one million British people regularly play basketball, and among those aged 18-34, 14% play every week. The partnerships will work together to maximise the opportunities to increase the amount of people playing in the city.