For 11-year-old Na’Kiya Bonner, basketball is more than just a sport, it’s her passion. She began playing basketball with PAL in 3rd grade and has no plans of stopping!
“Detroit PAL gave our daughter the opportunity to discover her first love and passion at a young age; Basketball!” said her father, Roderick Bonner, “Because she was given the chance to play basketball on a team at the age of 8, she realized early on her love for the game and teamwork, and discovered that basketball was her God-given talent.”
The 6th grader at Detroit Edison Public Academy (DEPSA) balances school and basketball by making sure she finishes all of her homework and class work first. Her good grades keep her on the honor roll at school, which is important for a family where school comes first! Her parents stay very involved in everything she does, including communicating with her teachers and coaches.
Because she began playing at an early age, Na’Kiya has been able to learn many lessons from her coaches. Her coach, Coach Emez, taught her that the work you put in during practice will pay off in games so you should always work hard, and that when you’re sleeping, there is always someone else working hard to get better. Na’Kiya practices hard because she knows it will help her improve.
“My favorite part of playing sports is being able to push my teammates to get better and them pushing me to get better,” said Na’Kiya.
Na’Kiya and her team work together to improve and make sure to always cheer each other on, whether they are on the court or on the bench. Her hard work and leadership skills have made her a leader on her team. She loves helping her teammates out when they need to know where to go or what to do during a play. Her team works together off the court as well. Her entire team got together and did Operation Christmas Child and sent out 18 boxes to less fortunate kids, providing them with items for Christmas.
Na’Kiya’s parents, Faith and Roderick Bonner, have seen her gain leadership skills, on and off the court, maturity, focus, and discipline since she starting participating in Detroit PAL.
In the future, Na’Kiya has set a goal of playing in the WNBA one day, but what she really wants to do is earn the spot as the first female player in the NBA. She’s well on her way now; working hard at practice, earning good grades at school, and playing in a co-ed basketball league at Tindal Recreation Center.
Keep up the great work Na’Kiya!