NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Local athletes will soon be able to return to practice, but one coach is growing the sport of basketball over Zoom.

CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reports Coach Chiene Joy Jones, athletic director at Promise Academy, is making a push to empower a younger audience: 5-to-9-year-old girls.

“There was zero opportunities for girls in particular to play the sport and learn the sport of basketball, and so I decided to create one,” said Jones.

Jones started the “Grow Our Game” organization, that has already reached more than 14,000 children in Harlem.

“Many of them surprisingly enough go from being super shy to being super bold and that’s pretty much transferable with anything you do in life,” said Jones, who kept classes going on Zoom since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

LINK: Grow Our Game | Follow @Growourgame on Instagram for Date & Time

“The young group is actually part of my ‘Little Ballers’ program, which is about exposing the love of the game,” said Jones. “I think sometimes we jump in too quickly to ‘win, win’ and ‘play hard.'”

Jones always reminds the children to have fun. She said it’s not about winning at this level, it’s about showing up.

“We always do our sisterhood introductions. Which is an opportunity for the girls to understand the validations of their voices,” said Jones.

The free classes earned Jones the title of Junior Knicks Coach of The Year.

Later, she got more good news.

Knicks legend Allan Houston announced Jones is a finalist for the 2020 Junior NBA Coach of the Year.


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