By Anaridis Rodriguez

BOSTON (CBS) – Early in the morning, and inside a Roxbury gym, in between the drills, coaching and lay ups, was Celtics star Gordon Hayward.

Standing tall at 6’8”, he was laying down lessons in basketball and life.

“Whether or not you win the game, or do well on the test, or lose the game, it’s going to be OK,” said Hayward.

A Roxbury girls-online basketball clinic is aimed at teaching the next generation of female athletes. (WBZ-TV)

The 50 Jr. Celtics, who were all ears, were also all girls.

“To have an all-girls camp like this is something that I really enjoy doing. And I think it’s important too,” Hayward said.

Created by the NBA and WNBA, the “Her Time to Play” clinic aims to inspire the next generation of female athletes.

The initiative, geared towards children between ages 7-14, was tipped off by the fact twice as many girls compared to boys drop out of sports by the age of 14 (Women’s Sports Foundation).

“[It’s about] just giving girls opportunities to play the game and getting them active. We didn’t just talk about basketball,” said Hayward.

Gordon Hayward at a girls basketball clinic in Roxbury. (WBZ-TV)

They also talked about nutrition, mediation, the impact of social media and how to overcome adversity. Something the Celtics forward knows all about.

“For me having the injury there were dark days and dark times. OK, that injury happened to me, now it’s over, now I can move forward. And try my best to be the best basketball player I can be,” Hayward said.

By midday, when the pictures were taken and the courts cleared, a group of girls had gotten the chance of a lifetime – and a reminder that it’s always her time to play.

Anaridis Rodriguez

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