Words: Elle Clay

Photography: Vanessa Granda

If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to value human life and connection. What many saw as a year of great prosperity (#2020vision), quickly turned into a year of continued unrest. Most of us have been redefining the relationships to our extended communities and ourselves, and many are keeping in touch with people virtually, embracing video calls to check in and show love.

While some have chosen to demand justice on the streets, Kia Nurse of the WNBA’s New York Liberty took her protest to the hardwood — a choice that isn’t new to the women of the W. It was no surprise when players boldly dedicated the season to Breonna Taylor; in 2016, players wore black T-shirts that brought awareness to the names of police brutality victims and said, “Change starts with us.”

While some sporting events have continued during the pandemic, others had to pivot, including this year’s highly-anticipated Olympics. For world champion hurdler, Kori Carter, plans for 2020 had been in motion for the last four years. With no bubble to retreat to, and after getting kicked off of some local tracks, Kori trained in her neighbor’s and sister’s garages. She never stopped working, and even picked up some woodworking skills while perfecting her “auntie” Facetime routine.

With the new Sisterhood Collection, which includes an Air Jordan I Zoom High Comfort, an Air Jordan I Mid, a Jumpsuit and a Sports Bra, Nike and Jordan Brand are celebrating a powerful definition of sisterhood comprised of friends, mentors and teammates. And while Kia Nurse and Kori Carter compete in different arenas, they are both sisters in the Jordan Brand family. We got in touch with them for at-home virtual photo shoots and talked about family, personal growth and strengthening bonds from a distance.


On video calls and showing love from a distance:

Well, I’ve been really fortunate, because I’ve been all over the place, especially going back to the WNBA. I’ve been in the bubble, and I’ve had to be away from literally everybody that I care about. I’ve also been traveling the world and came back from Australia during early COVID-19. The biggest thing I’ve learned from this is that, though technology has its pitfalls, it’s great for keeping in touch with people.

I’ve been on video calls with my team, Team Canada, as we’re trying to work towards the 2021 Olympics. I’ve also been video calling my grandparents. I miss them, and I’m trying to keep in touch as much as possible.

On strengthening bonds with “chosen family” during the pandemic:

A lot of my close friends have come from sport. I’ve been on a lot of different teams, where I’ve made sisters for life. The biggest way that we’ve been communicating has been through Zoom calls. It’s fun, because you can play a game or even just talk through some of the uncertainties in the world right now. Knowing that other people are experiencing the same feelings, or have found different ways to take care of themselves, is reassuring. It’s made all the difference.

On embracing new forms of self-care:

It’s been huge, because I’m typically on the go all the time. I don’t really stay in one place for more than three months, and I’m always with new people. For the first time since eighth grade, I got to be home for more than a week. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to be around my family for that long and just not play basketball.

Being a basketball player is a huge part of my identity. It’s also an escape from fear, because you’re just out there playing the game. I’ve had time to reflect on who I am outside of the sport. I now realize that I need to be okay with change, even if it takes time. I’ve really gotten into meditation and apps for it. I’m obsessed with books, and I’ve read so many during COVID-19. I really understand that nobody can take care of you like you can take care of yourself. You’re all you have, and you have to be happy and confident in yourself in order to really love others, too.

On how the women in her tribe inspire her:

I’ve been really fortunate to grow up with two incredibly strong women as my role models. One is my sister, who was the reason I played basketball. Then there’s my mom, who always told me that you can do whatever you want. As I get older, I really see how I have such a big, global sisterhood, through basketball especially. No matter where you are, you’re going to find people who fall in love with the game and who have had similar stories. We’ve gained a lot of momentum in the WNBA, and all of a sudden, everything just stopped. Women at home can watch us play and be inspired like I was. They can see what they can be when they grow up. Having people who are there to hold you up makes all the difference in the world.

On the Sisterhood Collection and being Jordan Brand family:

I love the colorway. I’m obsessed with a good colorway that you can wear with almost anything. I feel like the design acknowledges the sisterhood that’s building within the Jordan Brand. There are a lot of women sneakerheads, too, and it feels like the brand is really putting on for all of us who rock it day in and day out.

There’s really nothing like being part of the Jordan Brand. It’s literally a family. There aren’t a lot of us; it’s an elite group. We all share a love of the grind, a love of the journey and thriving for excellence. That’s something I’ve always been really, really proud to be a part of. This brand let me debut a freaking performance shoe on the WNBA courts. It’s a family full of people who haven’t all met each other, but we know that we’re united by something special.


On video calls and showing love from a distance:

I feel like I always have to show love from a distance, just given my profession. I’ve moved three or four times, once to Kentucky, and now I’m in Texas. I’m always thousands of miles away from my closest friends and family. Also, when I’m competing, I’m over in Europe.

I try to just keep in touch, especially because I have a niece and nephew who are three and five. I just want them to remember that Auntie cares about and loves them. It’s hard to keep a toddler’s attention over FaceTime. You know how you can change your face into emojis? I put on different animal faces for them. I’ll create a whole song, just so my niece and nephew will think that I’m really cool.

A voice can only go so far, and you can’t have a dance party over the phone. You’ve got to save that for video calls!

On strengthening bonds with “chosen family” during the pandemic:

I have a lot of amazing people who are really supportive of me, no matter where I am in the world. One of the benefits from this difficult moment is that we’ve been having deeper conversations and really checking in on our mental health. It’s dope to be having candid conversations about race, politics and deeper subjects with my friends. I’ve learned that all my friends are real ones and are about that life! I chose some good friends.

On embracing new forms of self-care:

Well, sometimes I’m more of a human doing than a human being. I like to stay busy, learn new things and give myself new challenges. During quarantine, I picked up woodworking, and I’ve been a lot more active on social media. I know that I have a lot of energy, and that I’m a high-octane person. I just need to find new skills, new challenges for myself. I think that helps ground me. Of course, just going to the track and being able to lose myself in the work really helps me stay level.

On how the women in her tribe inspire her:

I’ve always had very strong women in my life. I have two older sisters who played sports, who I wanted to be like. I ended up being the biggest tomboy out of all of them. I was always trying to keep up with them. As I’ve grown, I feel like God has always put women in my life to look up to.  Teammates and friends have been really crucial in building the woman who I am today. Not only do I get to admire these women, but they’ve invested in me. To turn around and do the same for other women is really important. I’m a volunteer assistant coach at UT, so I get to be the big sister to the collegiate athletes. And I’m training next to them every single day. They get to see, “Hey, if you want to go to the next level, this is the work that’s going to take.” I get to set an example for them, too.

On the Sisterhood Collection and being Jordan Brand family:

I love that it’s not pink! Having this blue that’s bold and royal-inspired is really cool. I’m obsessed with the [interior] print. From afar, it looks like a floral print, but when you get up close, you see women in motion. It’s the details.

It’s so dope that Jordan Brand is investing in women athletes, showing girls that just like me that the brand sees them. Whether you play basketball or you run track, whether you’re male or female, you want to be like Mike. Being part of helping girls like me be seen is the most important part of being a Jordan athlete.

The Jordan Sisterhood collection is available starting October 15 on Jordan.com, SNKRS and at select retailers.

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