Highlights of Elise Gordon's brother while starring at Mitty High School.
Being the middle child of two professional basketball players — Orlando Magic starting forward Aaron Gordon and European standout Drew — Elise Gordon never had any identity or confidence issues.
She was the star post player at Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
, where her brothers starred, then played four seasons at Harvard, where she earned a degree in government.
"There was never anything like a sibling rivalry between us," Elise said. "We've shared in each others triumphs and hard times. We're a very close family."
Never was that more evident than in 2014, the year Elise graduated from Harvard and Aaron was picked fourth overall by the Magic in the NBA Draft. Aaron needed management help, Elise needed a job, the two are close and the sibling business partnership began.
Asked why he picked Elise as his manager, Aaron told the undefeated.com
: "Her credentials alone. Where she graduated from. What she's into academically. How capable she is an individual. The extension of her love for me. And then basically, me being naive coming into the NBA at 18-years-old."
Elise began a career as an NBA junior agent and Aaron's personal manager, but after four successful years she realized that she had her own personal aspirations.
She moved to Los Angeles, earned a Master's degree in Business at USC, and now she is carving her own path, starting with She Hoops all-girls basketball clinics. Her first clinic starts Saturday at the UPB (Unlimited Potential Basketball) Training Facility.
Three separate sessions will be offered for third graders and younger, fourth- through seventh-graders and eighth- through 12th-graders. They will be taught and led by elite trainers, headed by UPB skills coach Packie Turner, who trains numerous NBA/WNBA players, including Stephen Curry, Harrison Barnes and Gordon.
A long list of former and current college players are scheduled to coach and/or speak, including Britnea Moore, Iman Scott,
Julia Alexander, Dijonai Carrington and Haley Jones
, a current Stanford freshman and multiple-outlet National Player of the Year and McDonald's All-American at Mitty.
Ten percent of the camp proceeds — cost is $99 per camper — will be donated to breast cancer research.
"I want to provide a safe and welcoming space for young women hoopers to develop their skills both on and off the court," Elise said.
Mitty's Sue Phillips, who in March coached the McDonald's All-American game and in July was honored at the ESPYs by Gatorade for her excellence in coaching, thinks Elise is a natural to lead young people.
"Well beyond her basketball knowledge, she's such a tremendous role model and great example herself by all that she has accomplished," Phillips said. "She'll provide great guidance and mentorship to young people for what they can become, and be a great advocate for education."
Elise taught and led many of Aaron's camps throughout her time as his manager. Many were at Mitty and the Bay Area. "They were such special events, loving and giving and philanthropic," Elise said. "I love to work with the kids. They are our future."
Many of the camps were coed and the girls got a great deal of vital basketball training.
But at a recent camp, where about 15 of the 100 campers were female, "The girls totally held their own," Elise said. "However when we had some famous professional players come to speak like Aaron and Drew and Brandon Ashley, I could see all the boys raise their hands for questions, but not the young women. They weren't as confident to speak in the sea of boys."
Thus, her calling to start She Hoop camps was born.
She expects the hands of young players to rise quickly with the panel she has built, that also includes a special guest Cassy Athena, who had her playing career cut short due to a brain tumor. Athena reinvented herself as a photographer and now is considered a favorite among many NBA/WNBA players.
"Her story is pretty amazing," Elise said. "I think we'll have a lot of important stories to share and basketball training to learn. I can't wait to get started."
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