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President Clinton, Kobe Bryant Headline Town Hall Discussion on Kids and Sports

National conversation on state of youth sports in America airs February 9, 8:00pm ET on ESPN2

LA QUINTA, Calif., Jan. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ESPN, the Aspen Institute, and the Clinton Foundation have come together to facilitate a powerful conversation about the role of sports in the lives of children and the health of the nation through a premiere town hall event on the topic, "Kids and Sports." Headlined by President Bill Clinton and NBA All-Star and Olympic Gold Medalist Kobe Bryant, the program will inform the work of the Aspen Institute Project Play, which recognizes that in some US communities just one in five kids play sports, and convenes leaders to explore potential solutions.

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President Clinton will host the conversation on Monday, January 13, at the third annual Clinton Health Matters Conference at the La Quinta Resort and Club in La Quinta, California. This conference will showcase what leaders from across sectors – business, technology, sports and philanthropy – are doing to contribute to the health and wellness of people throughout the United States, and the Town Hall will consider which children get access to today's youth sports system, which of them don't – and the health consequences for each group.

ESPN will tape the event, "ESPN Town Hall: Kids and Sports" and air a condensed version on ESPN2, Feb. 9 at 8 pm ET. The event and show will examine national trends in participation, which indicate that despite the growth of organized youth sports as an industry, most children between the ages of 6 and 17 do not regularly play on a team. The show will also consider the safety, cost and other barriers to participation explored in ESPN The Magazine's kids and sports themed issue as well as an ESPN.com/Aspen Institute feature with NBA All-Star Chris Paul.

"Sports give young people the opportunity to be active, stay healthy, and live up to their best potential," said President Clinton.  "This conversation, as part of the Health Matters Conference, will bring leaders from sports, health, education, and other sectors to address the need and value of good coaching, and access to physical activity for all children."

Bryant comes to the conversation from the perspective of both a father to two daughters and as a world-class athlete. He has strong opinions about how the culture of youth sports has changed over the past generation, with its shift away from casual sport play toward early, high doses of organized sports that many families cannot afford.

"Today's kids are the least active in history and, dropping out of sports at alarming rates," Bryant said. "I'm excited to join the Aspen Institute Project Play dialogue and partner with President Clinton, Nike and ESPN at the upcoming Clinton Health Matters conference to bring attention to the need for universal access and early positive experiences in sports and play."

The town hall will consist of two primary components – the first being a dialogue between President Clinton and Bryant moderated by ESPN commentator Mike Greenberg of ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike." Following, the town hall will also engage the voices of US Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun, Olympic Gold Medal Sprinter Allyson Felix, MLB All-Star Matt Kemp, and former Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, in a panel discussion led by Aspen Institute Sports & Society director and ESPN contributor Tom Farrey. In addition, ESPN commentator and former US Women's National Soccer team captain Julie Foudy will join Greenberg in a Q&A session with teens and explore their thoughts from a youth perspective.

Join the national conversation February 9, 8:00pm by following @ESPN, @ESPNMag @AspenInstSports, @ClintonFndn and #ProjectPlay and #KidsandSports on Twitter.

About ESPN
ESPN, Inc., is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of more than 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of seven U.S. 24-hour television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes and Longhorn Network) and five HD simulcast services (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and ESPN Deportes). Other businesses include ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (24 networks, syndication, radio, digital), ESPN Radio (broadcast, satellite, digital, a growing category led by ScoreCenter), digital services (ESPN.com plus a variety of sport-, college-, and market-specific sites; multi-screen WatchESPN and ESPN3; plus mobile TV and video, apps, alerts and messaging), ESPN The Magazine, consumer products and espnW. Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.

About the Clinton Foundation
The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change.  Because of our work, 20,000 American schools are providing kids with healthy food choices in an effort to eradicate childhood obesity; 21,000 African farmers have improved their crops to feed 30,000 people; 248 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced in cities worldwide; more than 5,000 people have been trained in marketable job skills in Colombia; more than 6.8 million people have benefited from lifesaving HIV/AIDS medications; $100 million in strategic investments have been made, impacting the health of 25 million people in the U.S.; and members of the Clinton Global Initiative have made nearly 2,500 Commitments to Action to improve more than 430 million lives around the world.

The Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) works to improve the health and well-being of people throughout the United States across all generations.

About the Aspen Institute Project Play
The Aspen Institute Project Play is a thought leadership exercise that will lay the groundwork for the nation to get and keep more children physically active through sports, as a means of addressing the health needs of communities. The Sports & Society Program convenes sport, policy and other leaders in a series of roundtable and other events, and in late 2014 will publish a framework for action that can help stakeholders create "Sport for All, Play for Life" communities. Project partners and sponsors include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, David & Lucile Packard Foundation, ESPN, the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, Nike, and the University of Florida's Sport Policy & Research Collaborative. More:  www.AspenProjectPlay.org             

About the Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; New York City; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

SOURCE The Aspen Institute Project Play

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