President Clinton, Kobe Bryant Headline Town Hall Discussion on Kids and Sports
ESPN, the Aspen Institute, and the Clinton Foundation have come together to facilitate a powerful conversation about the role of sports in the lives of children and the health of the nation through a premiere town hall event on the topic, “Kids and Sports.” Headlined by President Bill Clinton and NBA All-Star and Olympic Gold Medalist Kobe Bryant, the program will inform the work of the Aspen Institute’s Project Play. Project Play recognizes that in some US communities just one in five kids play sports and convenes leaders to explore potential solutions.
President Clinton will host the conversation on Monday, January 13, at the third annual Clinton Health Matters Conference at the La Quinta Resort and Club in La Quinta, California. This conference will showcase what leaders from across sectors including business, technology, sports, and philanthropy are doing to contribute to the health and wellness of people throughout the United States. The Town Hall will consider which children get access to today’s youth sports system, and which of them don’t, and the health consequences for each group.
ESPN will tape the event, “ESPN Town Hall: Kids and Sports” and air a condensed version on ESPN2 on February 9th at 8:00 pm ET. The event and show will examine national trends in participation, which indicate that, despite the growth of organized youth sports as an industry, most children between the ages of 6 and 17 do not regularly play on a team. The show will also consider the safety, cost, and other barriers to participation explored in ESPN The Magazine’s kids and sports themed issue as well as an ESPN.com/Aspen Institute feature with NBA All-Star Chris Paul.
“Sports give young people the opportunity to be active, stay healthy, and live up to their best potential,” said President Clinton. ”This conversation, as part of the Health Matters Conference, will bring leaders from sports, health, education, and other sectors to address the need and value of good coaching and access to physical activity for all children.”
Bryant comes to the conversation from the perspective of both a father to two daughters and as a world-class athlete. He has strong opinions about how the culture of youth sports has changed over the past generation, with its shift away from casual sports play toward early, high doses of organized sports that many families cannot afford.
“Today’s kids are the least active in history and dropping out of sports at alarming rates,” Bryant said. “I’m excited to join the Aspen Institute Project Play dialogue and partner with President Clinton, Nike, and ESPN at the upcoming Clinton Health Matters conference to bring attention to the need for universal access and early positive experiences in sports and play.”
The town hall will consist of two primary components, the first being a dialogue between President Clinton and Bryant moderated by ESPN commentator Mike Greenberg of ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike.” Following, the town hall will also engage the voices of US Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun, Olympic Gold Medal Sprinter Allyson Felix, MLB All-Star Matt Kemp, and former Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, in a panel discussion led by Aspen Institute Sports & Society director and ESPN contributor Tom Farrey. In addition, ESPN commentator and former US Women’s National Soccer team captain Julie Foudy will join Greenberg in a Q&A session with teens and explore their thoughts from a youth perspective.