Atlanta Hawks and Microsoft partner to host dunk challenge

Credit: Brandon Wolf

Credit: Brandon Wolf

Atlanta Hawks partnered with Microsoft at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center and Aquatic Center recently to launch the Coded Dunk Challenge, teaching middle school students how to code.

The organizations, along with Fair Chance Learning, a company that creates educational programs, hoped to introduce youth to computer science and STEM focused areas, while also incorporating basketball.

Jon Babul, Hawks’ vice president of community impact, and Cornelius Parker, Microsoft’s director of technical program management, hoped students who participated learned how technology and science can be a part of sports.

“Stem and coding is integrated into our sport and career opportunity,” Babul said.

“You don’t think about the intersection between sports and technology, but you look at analytics and some of the sports science that a lot of these teams incorporate, technology’s at the forefront,” Parker said.

During the challenge, students were asked to create a customized basketball dunk, using a coding program. Atlanta Hawks center, Clint Capela, attended the event and worked with students on their various dunks.

Credit: Jillian Price/AJC

Credit: Jillian Price/AJC

Capela said the event could help kids see outside the box.

“They can see that there is a science behind it (basketball),” Capela said.

Youth interested can still participate in the dunk coding challenge on the Hawk’s website until March 3.

After the challenge, three finalists will be selected to attend the March 17 Hawks game against the Golden State Warriors. The dunks will be shown on the video board at State Farm Arena.

The winner’s dunk will be executed live on the court.