UChicago Medicine, Chicago Sky break the Guinness World Record for largest basketball lesson
The University of Chicago Medicine and the WNBA Chicago Sky officially broke the Guinness World Record for the largest basketball lesson, which took place during this year’s inaugural #ChicagoFit Health and Fitness Festival.
An audit showed 1,442 people participated in the July 8 lesson, which took place at Soldier Field. That bested the previous record, which had been held by the National Basketball Association. In 2017, the NBA hosted a clinic in India for 1,150 people.
The attempt was certified by Michael Empric, an adjudicator from the record-keeping organization, immediately after the attempt.
“We are passionate about breaking records not only on the court but also in the community,” said Watchen Nyanue, vice president of marketing partnerships at the Chicago Sky. “This is an exciting day for the Chicago Sky and the entire City of Chicago. We’re deeply committed to women’s health, preventive care and serving the community, which makes UChicago Medicine the perfect partner for #ChicagoFit since we both believe in the importance of helping Chicagoans stay active and healthy this summer.”
Basketball fans of all ages contributed to the record-breaking effort, including eight-year-old attendee Isabella Jarrett, whose #ChicagoFit event T-shirt was decorated with autographs from several Chicago Sky players.
“My favorite parts of the festival were meeting the basketball players, dribbling the ball and breaking the record,” Jarrett said.
The event, in its first year, was designed to promote the principles and practices of fitness and healthy living to all Chicagoans. The event included free health and wellness assessments and screenings, providing attendees with information about stroke prevention, weight management and heart and eye health.
Festival attendee Latasha Sandoval, who recently learned she has a lazy eye, stopped by the ophthalmology screening table to talk to Steven Quan, OD.
“I learned about various things that could have caused my lazy eye,” said Sandoval. “I absolutely plan on making an appointment with Dr. Quan.”
In addition to the world record attempt, the Chicago Bulls, Blackhawks, White Sox and Bears hosted activity stations featuring prizes and giveaways, along with opportunities to shoot basketballs, hit hockey pucks and toss footballs.
The activity stations entertained UChicago alumna Carol Jones and her family, who call themselves “huge sports enthusiasts,” and are big fans of the WNBA Chicago Sky.
“Our goal is to get Chicagoans of all ages moving, excited and inspired for getting fit and living healthy."
“We went to the Sky game yesterday and they came out with a great win,” said Jones. “It’s great to participate in an event that focuses on fitness and health. We are all about that.”
The Chicago Sky team, including players and coaches, helped lead the record-breaking basketball clinic, demonstrating proper form for shooting, dribbling and defense.
Sky forward Cheyenne Parker shared another one of her talents – singing the national anthem. “It was pretty cool, but it was also nerve-wrecking because it was my first time singing in front of so many people,” Parker said. “Still, it was super exciting to see all these people participate and break the record.”
In addition to the Sky players, a number of notable Chicago athletes participated in #ChicagoFit, including: Israel Idonije, former Chicago Bears defensive end; Bob Love, former Chicago Bulls forward; Aja Evans, Olympic bronze medalist in bobsled; and Bradie Tennell, Olympic bronze medalist in figure skating.
“The Chicago Sky and UChicago Medicine wanted to do something that brings our shared values to life, and we felt this health and wellness event would further serve our collective community,” said Sharon O’Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center. “Our goal is to get Chicagoans of all ages moving, excited and inspired for getting fit and living healthy."
The two organizations announced a multiyear partnership in February 2018 that named the academic health system as the official medical provider and a major sponsor of the team. In addition to preseason cardiac screenings for the team, UChicago Medicine is providing comprehensive player- and patient-centered services in orthopedics and sports.