GLOW 3×3 Festival Shines As Basketball Innovation For BBNZ

Last Saturday, 3rd December saw Auckland’s Papakura High School transformed into the site of an innovative new event by Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) – the GLOW 3×3 Festival.

The GLOW 3×3 Festival is the final event in BBNZ’s successful Park Tour series, which began in October this year as a Girls Got Game (GGG) initiative with the aim of engaging with younger girls across Auckland to experience the fun of basketball.

Targeted at girls in school years 4-8, the festival used a unique idea to attract participants to the event; the chance to play basketball with friends and peers in a darkened arena with a glowing basketball, fluorescent clothing and face paint.

Funding for the free event was provided by Auckland Council via their Youth Activation Fund, with all 46 registered participants receiving a complimentary GLOW Girls Got Game shirt, basketball, drink bottle and bag as well as free pizza and snacks.

BBNZ’s South Auckland Community Lead, Katie Buckley says she had the inspiration for the GLOW 3×3 Festival event after seeing a glow-in-the-dark basketball online.

“My husband and I were online one day, pursuing ways to engage our own children. We came across a luminescent basketball and started spit-balling ideas around running a glow in the dark event,” says Buckley.

“The research tells us we need to do something different to attract females into sporting activities and keep them interested – a point of difference, rather than trying to fit them into an existing system. And as a mother myself I know the kind of things that girls like, so I set about trying to make the event as fun and appealing as possible – something my girls wouldn’t want to miss!”

After painting up their faces with fluorescent paint, players were sorted into teams of 3-5 people and a 3×3 demo was run to go over the rules. The excitement started just before tip-off, as the girls joined in on the countdown to when the lights were turned off.

Buckley says the event was a huge success for everyone involved, with plans already underway to run similar festivals in the future.

“We had a great mix of people coming along, kids with a range of abilities and experience in basketball – from confident children to those who were experiencing basketball for the very first time. The girls were super-engaged, even having side-line dancing competitions when they weren’t playing. We had friends and family of the players there too, including parents cheering on their children during the games.

“Afterwards there was real buzz and feedback from the participants was very positive; not only did they have a great time but many of them were keen to find how they can play basketball more regularly.

“It was really cool to see their excitement and the girls wanting to play more, so we’ll set them up with Girls Got Game opportunities and regular club hoops operating in their local communities.”

BBNZ are now in the planning stages for more of these events in 2023, starting with Central and West Auckland and then expanding into more centres later in the year – dependent on the funding and resources available.

Find our more about BBNZ’s Girls Got Game initiatives at