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WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu stars in Nike's 'Play New' campaign that encourages people to discover sport in new ways

Yahoo! Sports logo Yahoo! Sports 5/6/2021 Vinciane Ngomsi
a person playing a game on the court: In Nike's 'Play New' campaign, New York Liberty standout Sabrina Ionesu attempts to play tennis. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo! Sports In Nike's 'Play New' campaign, New York Liberty standout Sabrina Ionesu attempts to play tennis. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Before we understood the competitive nature of sports, most of us participated in them as a way to get out of the house and make new friends. In their latest campaign, Nike wants us to recognize that sports don't have to be cutthroat, but instead a way for people to build a community while also cultivating a platform for change.

"We sometimes get trapped in an idea: ‘if I play a sport, what are the chances I go pro?’ My response is, if you play a sport, just see where it takes you," Nike VP of Global Brand Marketing Melanie Auguste said in the official release. "Sport helped be a vehicle for me to find my competence as a little kid. Now, as an adult, it became a way for me to learn the world. What makes engaging in sports so cool is that my story didn't end with me being a professional athlete, but it ended in me being able to tell stories about professional athletes and still be inspired by it."

The Swoosh also tapped a few famous faces to help set the example that it's fun to try new activities—even if you're not great at them. In the minute-long film, New York Liberty point guard Sabrina Ioenscu, English sprinter Dina Asher-Smith and Paralympic track and field international medalist Blake Leeper try their hands at new sports. Ionescu attempts to play tennis, Asher-Smith tries her hand at golf and Leeper gives it a go at the archery range.

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“I wanted to be part of the generation that changed basketball. But also, I'm definitely more than a basketball player — I’m about inspiring people to be great in whatever they want to do," Ionescu said about her participation in the campaign. 

As the year continues, expect other athletes of all experience levels to share their story and how taking the first step in learning a new sport proved to be successful in gaining other life lessons. Alongside the ongoing promotion of this project, Nike will also be using popular social apps Snapchat and TikTok, the latter being the a platform for an episodic series that follow TikTok creators as they try something new, sharing every funny and imperfect experiences with audiences along the way. 

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