Meet Basketball Coach Sally Nnamani
Sally Nnamani is reserved by nature, but when she's playing basketball, she has GOAT-level swagger. "You just go out and have a great game. It doesn't matter what anybody tells you when you walk out of that gym".
Basketball allowed her the freedom to build self-confidence, but it took her a while to find that same spirit off the court.
Sally was introduced to the game by her older brother when they moved from Nigeria to New York. Being the new kid came with some challenges, but basketball was her safe space.
But when she wasn't competing, she found it difficult to connect to her peers. "I was closed off and didn't interact with people. My coach was a great guy, he gave me rides to training, but he didn't know how to bring me into the team".
The more Sally played, the more she realised communication was just as vital as dropping 30 points. "You have no choice but to talk to your teammates on the court in order to win, and really win big. There has to be some kind of camaraderie there".
In university, she realised being able to engage with her teammates on the court had translated into the rest of her life, too. "Playing sports, I really started to get comfortable with trying different things. That was how I got into coaching".
"As I started playing and getting better, I went from being a quiet thirteen-year-old to people saying, 'I think she might do something with basketball'".
Now a Director at PeacePlayers Brooklyn—a non-profit organisation that uses basketball to develop the next generation of leaders—Sally's using her experiences to build confidence in kids both on and off the court. She sees basketball as a foundation for teaching them teamwork and accountability—but most importantly, that they have value.
"We try to provide opportunities for them to see this bigger world", she says. "There's so much more. And you belong [at PeacePlayers]. It doesn't matter where you're from or where you live, you belong there".