Get Ready for the 2018 Project Play Summit

October 15, 2018  • Sports & Society Program

The Project Play Summit is the nation’s premier gathering of leaders at the intersection of youth, sport, and health. Participants in the 2018 Summit will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to measure the current state of play and chart the subsequent steps to build communities through sports and foster future generations of healthy children. On Tuesday, they will be joined by NBA legend Kobe Bryant, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, Olympic track and field champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and NBC Sports broadcaster Mary Carillo.

The theme of this year’s summit is “Think Global, Play Local.” It will cover topics such as the promise of mixed-gender sports, the value of sports sampling, and the future of the US Olympic movement. You can follow select sessions throughout the day at Check the agenda to see approximate times for each session.

Featured speakers

Kobe Bryant is a former professional basketball player. Drafted out of high school, he spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA titles and playing in 18 All-Star Games. Bryant wrote about his impending retirement in a poem, “Dear Basketball,” that was later turned into an Oscar-winning animated short film. Off the court, he has dedicated his philanthropic passion to a variety of causes that improve the lives of young people through access to sports, mentorship, and economic empowerment.

Tony Hawk is the most well-known action sports athlete on the planet. The world champion for 12 straight years, he is known for completing the first 900, a two-and-a-half revolution aerial spin completed on a skateboard ramp. In addition to his numerous appearances in films and his own series of video games, Hawk is involved in various philanthropic ventures including the Tony Hawk Foundation that has helped build over 600 skate parks in the US.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee is a former track and field athlete who has won Olympic gold medals in both the heptathlon and the long jump. She has been the world record holder in the heptathlon since 1988. Considered to be one of the greatest athletes of all time, Joyner-Kersee is now an active philanthropist. She founded the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation to inspire youth in East St. Louis to pursue academics and athletics.

Mary Carillo serves as a correspondent for NBC’s coverage of the Olympic Games and analyst for NBC’s tennis coverage. Widely regarded as one of the most popular female sports commentators, she has received two Peabody awards, one of television’s highest honors. A former professional tennis player, Carillo won the 1977 French Open mixed doubles title with her childhood friend John McEnroe. In December, she will be inducted into the Sports Video Group’s Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

A separate Post-Summit Workshop Day will take place on Wednesday at the Aspen Institute’s headquarters. Participants will receive exclusive access to Project Play’s forthcoming Teamwork Toolkit, a new, first-of-its-kind digital resource to help community leaders landscape the state of play of their local neighborhoods and mobilize others to grow access to youth sport. The Teamwork Toolkit launches publicly in 2019. Follow @AspenInstSports and use the hashtag #ProjectPlay to join the discussions online.

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