Olympic Sport Spotlight: Basketball Q & A with We Not Me Sports

The 2024 Summer Olympics kick off this month in Paris and we’re excited to introduce our new blog series featuring local experts offering insight and helpful advice for parents on popular Olympic sports. We recently asked Matt Hartman, owner of We Not Me Sports for his thoughts on basketball, the Olympics, and advice for parents about the best time to get your kids started in the sport. 

Men’s Basketball was first contested as a medal event in the 1936 Olympic games and women’s basketball did not make its debut until the 1976 Montreal Games. The USA Basketball team was composed of amateur athletes until the 1992 Barcelona Games when NBA players were included, resulting in the “Dream Team.” That team went 8-0 and won the gold medal, led by Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. This summer in Paris, the basketball games begin on July 27th, with the USA Men’s team facing Serbia on July 28th while the women take on Japan in the first round on July 29th. 

About We Not Me Sports: 

Q: How/when did your business start? 

A: I bought the business in 2022 from my former high school coach and his wife and re-named it ‘We Not Me Sports’. But, they started it over 15 years ago as an opportunity for their children to have a positive youth sports experience.

Q: What is something unique that sets your business apart?

A: A distinctive quality of our leagues is that we ask teammates to also be classmates. Other leagues assign you to a random team, or all-stars from all over group together. One of our philosophies is to help kids ‘play together better’. After 5 years of playing together in We Not Me they have a great bond first and foremost, and are now ready for the next level of competition in middle school and beyond.

Please share a bit about basketball and the Olympics:

Q: What is your favorite Olympic event to watch and why? 

A: Obvious answer: Basketball. There are some rules during international contests that are different from the NBA. It’s fun to watch our stars have to figure it out. Plus, there is so much talent all around the world now that makes for great competition. But, I also really enjoy watching Handball. There are similarities to basketball and soccer with its teamwork and fast breaks. I wish I found that sport earlier! 

Q: Who have been your favorite or most memorable Olympic athletes in Basketball?

A: I was 9 years old and falling in love with Hoops when the 1992 Dream Team led by Michael Jordan took the world by storm. It was all over for me then – I’ve been a bball junkie ever since! 

Matt Hartman, Owner and Coach at We Not Me Sports

Q: What basketball athletes are you most excited to watch/cheer for this summer in Paris? Anyone local we should be watching? 

A: Joel Embiid is playing for the USA team this summer. It’s his first time and should make Sixers fans and USA fans proud. We actually have an older team this year to make up for our loss in the World Championship last year. It should be great drama to see if Lebron and Steph Curry can win the gold again.

Q: Have you ever attended the Olympics? 

A: No, I have not, but it’s my goal to make at least one in my lifetime. Watching athletes at the pinnacle of their sport need to perform under pressure is probably my favorite pastime. 

Answers to common questions parents ask when considering basketball for their child: 

Q: What are the best ages for kids to start?

A: As fun and accessible as basketball can be, it really is a tough sport to be good at. The level of skill, athleticism, creativity, and strength needed is no small feat. But, if they love it then they’ll work hard at it. So start them as young as possible and focus on the fun!

Q: What is an ideal ratio of instructor to child in a class at the beginner level? 

A: There is not one right way. Play alone, play 1v1, play with friends, play against better competition, play with a coach, play without. Notice a theme? Feedback is a key component of learning any skill as a beginner. But, it doesn’t always have to come from an adult. A missed shot is feedback too. With that said, when I work with beginners, I prefer to have a small group instead of just one child. Basketball is a game played WITH others and AGAINST others! Teammates need to work together to solve the problems of the defense. 4-8 kids is a sweet spot for this dynamic.

Q: How are teams/sessions divided? Age, skill level or both? 

A: It’s best to have similar skill levels grouped together. There’s some flexibility for ages but usually within a grade or two. 

Q: How long does it typically take to get the hang of the sport? 

A: Tough question. A lot of it is based on natural talent but I’ve also been helping beginners gain confidence for 15+ years. It’s a fun sport – so if your goal is to be simply more capable during recess or summer camp we can help you learn those tools. If it’s to make a team with tryouts that’ll take a few years if you are starting from scratch.

How will a child benefit and flourish by participating in Basketball?

Q: What are the primary benefits to kids participating in Basketball?

A: Oh so many! One one hand, it’s different from sports like golf, tennis, and swimming because it’s a team sport. It is a wonderful bonding experience to compete against others with your mates. Two, similar to hockey and soccer there is nearly non-stop action. It’s quite engaging and great exercise. Third, it’s improvisational like the best kinds of games. There’s a perfect blend of order and randomness to keep someone like myself engaged for almost 40 years.

Q: What are some unexpected benefits? 

A: When you ask any retired athlete about their favorite time being a basketball player they usually talk about the locker room more than the game itself. Basketball is an awesome social event. I’ve played pick up basketball in multiple countries where I did not speak the same language as my teammates. Yet, we were on exactly the same page from the start because we knew the language of the game. Just give and go and you’re off!

Q: What is your best piece of advice for families whose child wants to get started in basketball?

A: Basketball is one of our most accessible sports. As fun as it is with a group, you just need a ball and a hoop to get started. Lower the basket, get a small ball, and rack up some early wins to gain confidence. We could be talking about sports or music or learning a language. Too often coaches and teachers will rush into the technical side of a skill. That should not be our first step. Always start with joy and play. If they fall in love with something then they’ll have the intrinsic motivation to work through the tedious bits. When your child asks you to shovel the driveway because they want to practice then you can start thinking about taking it more seriously 🙂 ‘Til then – just play! 


For more information on basketball leagues, camps and more, contact We Not Me Sports. For an expanded listing of basketball teams and leagues, see our directory


We Not Me Sports Logo

Photos provided by We Not Me Sports.