A New Spin on Pick Up Basketball

February 4, 2022

On the fourth and final day of our team offsite meetings, we had the absolute pleasure of meeting Chi Nwogu, a co-creator of the fast-paced basketball card game, Pick Up, which will be featured on campaign wishlists this year. He explained the story behind Gameflo, which is a Black-owned gaming company building communities by empowering people on their own terms and to their own abilities.

Chi shared the impetus behind the founding of Gameflo, and specifically the creation of Pick Up, as he explained the critical importance of culturally relevant play materials and games in our educational spaces. Culturally relevant play extends far beyond mere representation; rather, it foregrounds and celebrates a child’s cultural identity and background in the game itself. This foregrounding frequently requires an understanding of the customs and traditions, dialects and idioms, kinship and care networks that compose a specific community and/or broader culture.

After breaking us into two teams of three, Chi walked the Daymaker team through the basic instructions. Tia, Azizi, and Ari vs. Brent, L.D., and Chris. Each card character has their own scoring capacity and special skillset, but only three characters, per team, can occupy the court at any given time. The possibilities are literally endless.

... But here is how it went down:

Tia and Ari score FIRST and secure the lead as Brent and L.D. talk strategy.

The game QUICKLY picks up pace and intensifies with each turn.

Shots blocked and points scored.

Players traded and opportunities MISSED.
High fives and fist bumps.

Excited cheers and TERRIFIED shouts.

Brent and L.D. continue to score, catch up, and surpass Tia and Ari even.

But their lead is ultimately insecure...

As Tia scores the final shot that puts her team at 40: the game winning score.

Practicing good sportsmanship each team shook hands and exchanged jovial remarks.

The game truly has so much to offer everyone who participates. The challenge the cards present is as much cognitive as it is socio-emotional. We are beyond ecstatic about the opportunity to feature Pick Up on future campaign wishlists, and watch the children in our network grow through the challenge each game presents!