Tomorrow marks the 37th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD). The day, founded by the Women’s Sports Foundation, celebrates the accomplishments and limitless potential of girls and women in sports, recognizes the positive influence of sports participation and honors the progress and continuing struggle for equality for women in sports.
The Phoenix Mercury has always stood for more than basketball. Engrained in our DNA is a commitment to diversity, inclusion, widening the circle of acceptance and participation and uplifting girls and women.
For 26 years, the Mercury has been at the forefront of girls’ participation in basketball, empowering and inspiring the next generation and providing opportunities for girls to play.
Since 1999, Jr. Mercury and Suns Basketball Leagues have been giving girls and boys in Arizona the opportunity to learn what it takes to win both on and off the court. The leagues emphasize fun while encouraging fundamental skill development, teamwork and sportsmanship. League participants are given tickets to a Mercury or Suns game, discounts for all games, the opportunity to play on the Footprint Center court before a game and appearances by Mercury and Suns players.
In addition to its Jr. Leagues, the Mercury hosts an annual basketball camp for girls and boys of all skill levels, featuring expert one-on-one instruction and special appearances by Mercury players. This summer, the team is excited to host its first-ever all-girls Mercury Basketball Camp.
At this winter’s sold-out camp, campers were treated to a special appearance by Mercury guard Shey Peddy.
After taking pictures with the Mercury’s three championship trophies and going through drills, campers were greeted by the fan favorite, who shared words of inspiration and signed autographs.
“I started in basketball camps like these kids,” said Peddy. “When I was growing up, the WNBA didn’t exist, so it’s cool to have this opportunity now to see where I started from and be here in the league now and be able to give back to the kids.”
“It’s really special. They have dreams, they want to be where we’re at. To see them in the stands, cheering us on knowing one day it’s going to be them, it’s very inspiring. Even just to come and hang with them now, these are the memories they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives, so I’m happy to be a part of this.”
The Mercury firmly believes “you need to see her to be her.” Girls want and need role models that they can see around them – whether that is at a game, on their television screen, on social media or in their community. The Mercury is committed to creating greater visibility to positive, strong, accomplished female role models so that girls can envision all that they can be.
For starters, that means increasing the visibility of women’s sports in the media. In 2022, the Mercury partnered with Bally Sports Arizona to broadcast a groundbreaking 28 regular season games. Between local broadcasts and nationally televised games, all 36 regular season Mercury games were broadcasted for the first time in franchise history – a huge step in empowering and inspiring the next generation of female hoopers here in the Valley and beyond.
It also means getting girls and their families out to Mercury games to experience their favorite players in person. Last season, the Mercury hosted Girls Empowerment Day when the team took on the Los Angeles Sparks, welcoming more than 5,000 Girl Scouts in attendance. At the team’s Inspiring Women Night, the Mercury hosted and introduced high school girls basketball state champion teams from all across Arizona.
Finally, it means telling the untold stories of Mercury players, staff and other trailblazing women in the sports world and beyond. Through three separate content series, the Mercury has uplifted women and shared their stories, on and off the court – giving young girls a behind-the-scenes look at their role models, their successes and the challenges they have overcome.
Sports provide much more than good exercise, they provide life lessons—they teach you how to win and how to lose, they help you concentrate, they instill the art of perseverance and resilience and they give you the confidence to succeed in life.
Inspiring others, promoting diversity and allowing for open opportunities are all pillars upon which the Mercury organization is built. Today and every day, the Mercury celebrates the space girls and women occupy, on and off the court.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at December’s Mercury Basketball Camp: