MAKING your free throws is always important on the court… but what about off the court?
The 2017 Helping Hoops 24-Hour Shootout is back on again.
You’ve got 15 minutes to make as many free throws as possible, with participants fundraising for each shot made.
It’s a simple concept and enables Helping Hoops to continue their phenomenal work using basketball as a medium for social change.
But its starting point came about unexpectedly as HH founder Adam McKay explained.
“The honest version is this – back in 2012 we had a momentary financial crisis,” McKay said. “When you do everything for free and don’t make any money out of your services you provide it’s probably bound to happen sooner or later, so within a couple of weeks, we basically needed to plug a hole.
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“The very first charity shoot out in 2012 was thrown together within a week or two, where we had a few weeks lead time and we ended up raising I think just over five thousand dollars, which kept the wolves from the door momentarily, and got us back on track.
“Then in the debrief we said ‘well that was a lot of fun, we should maybe do this again in 2013’ so we got a bigger gym, we changed the format a little bit – but we always kept it to the same essence, which is 15 minutes as the challenge, do as many free-throws as you can.”
Since the first event, Helping Hoops has grown the Shootout year on year and the results have grown dramatically. Last year 21,000 shots collectively were made by roughly 170 people to raise $60,000.
Throughout the course of this year’s weekend, Helping Hoops is shooting big for better goals.
“2013 we had a great time,” McKay said. “We had Kyrie Irving drop by that year, so we were obviously doing something right -he is very good at shooting free-throws, which we found out.
“From there it has just built every year.
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“The essence has always stayed the same but the actual, peripheral stuff around it has got better each year and now it’s probably just as much about the shots going in the hoop and raising money as it is about having a party.
“It’s grown organically, every year we put a little bit more effort into it and get better results hopefully.”
From all walks of life, from all abilities of basketball background – you can come and make some shots.
Therein lies the unifying ability Helping Hoops can create – everyone is fair and equal on the free throw line after all.
From Chris Goulding, Chris Anstey, celebrity chef Ben Shewry and even the likes of Kyrie Irving… plenty of people have stepped up to the line to support Helping Hoops.
It doesn’t require an incredible basketball background to step up either – whatever ability you have, it’s the thought and the effort that counts.
“It’s amazing,” McKay said. “We get kids who barely can reach the hoop and maybe make 20-30 shots in 15 minutes, right through to some of our ambassadors who come through and can make over 300 and everyone in between.
“To be honest the majority of people who come through, say the families who have a kid who plays basketball appreciate the fact there is something out there that gives an opportunity to kids who may not have the same support at home.
“I think to see those people come out, to talk to them and find out why they’ve chosen to support Helping Hoops is cool but you never know, every 15 minutes you get new people come through the door.
“It could be someone who takes it very seriously, or it could be someone who rocks up in fancy dress because it helps with fundraising.
“You get to meet new people and catch up with old people you may not have seen for a while. It’s interesting to see how people take it as well, whether it is a bit of fun or really serious – everyone is welcome.”
At the end of the day, the results help the helpers expand. More volunteer coaches, more venues, more children able to attend and improve their social, sporting and emotional health through uniting under basketball.
“That’s Helping Hoops to a tee as well, it’s something we’re really proud of,” McKay said. “Where you can see your efforts come out in tangible results, almost immediately.
“Money is not caught up in huge admin bills or huge premises – we’re really action-focused and if we have a good Shootout, you can actually see what that means in a tangible way, and that’s something we can connect the actions to the results.”
If you would like to participate in the Helping Hoops 24-Hour Shootout – held this year at 1-2 July at Albert Park College, 83 Danks Street, Albert Park – head to www.helpinghoops/24.