Kids at Nike HER Court
May 22, 2023

Unveiling the HER Court and Celebrating Women in Sports, Music, and More

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago is committed to supporting and celebrating women and girls in our communities. That’s why we partnered with Nike in 2022 to refurbish the South Side YMCA’s outdoor basketball court — now named “HER Court” — and hosted a community event and ribbon-cutting. 

For Nike and the Y, basketball is more than just a sport. The HER Court, beautifully designed by Crystal Zapata, a Chicago-based woman artist of color, emphasizes the Y’s dedication to the communities we serve and our investment in local youth. The black-and-white checkered South Side YMCA court is adorned with words that align with the Y’s values: sportsmanship, respect, friendship, and love. Through our partnership with Nike, we continue to honor the City of Chicago, female athletes, and the young women in the Y’s communities. 

HER Court’s unveiling wasn’t just a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The community came together to celebrate women in sports, food, art, and entertainment, inspiring our local youth by spotlighting women-owned eateries, local women DJs, public officials, and hometown professional athletes. WNBA star Linnae Harper even joined us to provide skills clinics for girls ages 8 to 17 and boys ages 13 to 17, all for free! 

“Through Nike’s partnership and generosity, the South Side Y and our neighbors have a beautiful new safe space to gather, to play, and to find joy in community and sports,” said Kenne’quia Howell, Executive Director of South Side YMCA. “It was such a privilege to be able to unveil this work of art and then spend the day celebrating local women’s achievements in music, food, art, community, and, of course, basketball!”

Our partnership with Nike to create the HER Court underscores the Y’s continued commitment to Chicago’s South Side and surrounding communities. We are proud to have furthered our mission of creating long-lasting change in our communities by connecting all people to their purpose, potential, and each other by providing opportunities and a new public space for youth to develop and enhance their athletic abilities. And who knows? Maybe the next Chicago sports legend will get her start at the South Side Y’s HER Court!