Rashan Ali has made a name for herself in the world of radio, television and entertainment. She became the social media Correspondent for NBA TV’s GameTime during the 2010-2013 NBA playoffs. In 2013, Ali joined CBS Sports Network as a sideline reporter for the college football season.
As Ali continues to rise in the ranks as a multimedia personality, she said she hasn’t forgotten her roots and where she came from.
“I’m a Decatur girl shawty, eastside ‘til the day I die,” a laughing Ali said after serving as the moderator for DeKalb County’s Dream Symposium on June 29. “When I’m here it’s like I’m home. This will always be home for me. Great things are coming out of DeKalb County.”
As a way to give back to her community, Ali created Sporty Girls Inc., a nonprofit organization that allows minority girls from ages 8 to 18 to participate in non-traditional sports.
A graduate of Southwest DeKalb High School, Ali’s swimming prowess allowed her to earn a scholarship to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). Her experience swimming and competing at a high level is what helped her create the idea of Sporty Girls, she said.
However, the journey to keeping the nonprofit above water hasn’t been easy. The DeKalb County native said she blames herself for some of the issues with Sporty Girls related to funding.
“It’s been very hard and I would say a lot of it has been my fault. I really don’t like asking people for stuff. My sphere of influence is huge and I could really just call people and say, ‘Hey (Ludacris), could you help?’ I could do that, but it’s really hard for me,” Ali said. “I depend a lot on regular everyday people. At the root of it all is a labor of love.”
Sporty Girls recently received a rather large donation from a big contributor. Shaquille O’neal donated $10,000 to Ali’s organization. The donation from the four-time NBA champion helped Ali continue to serve girls from and around DeKalb County.
Sporty Girls is now in its 10th year.
Ali was also recognized during a DeKalb County Board of Commissioners meeting June 28 for her work in community service.
“I felt like growing up, there were programs for the underserved and for the girls that had a lot, but the girls in the middle class seemed to get overlooked,” Ali said. “I’ve had parents come up to me and tell me that because of this organization, their daughters are now playing lacrosse or soccer for their middle school or high school. It’s always about exposure. We cater to all girls regardless of socioeconomic backgrounds.”
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