VISION

BEHIND THE CONCEPT

A comprehensive, multi-sport venue where everyone can explore the profound and fascinating intersection between athletic achievement and meaningful social change


"Athletics give us hope that anything is attainable, and teach us to lose without being defeated."

- ADAM SLOCUM, Founder / Executive Director


INSPIRATION

When I experienced the Smithsonian’s powerful “Muhammad Ali: A Force for Change” exhibit in 2016, I was struck by the need and purpose for a comprehensive, multi-sport venue where everyone could explore the profound and fascinating intersection between athletic achievement and social change. As issues of social justice continue to take hold of our national consciousness, particularly due to the outpouring of activism among diverse pro athletes over the past few years, this concept has been growing in meaning and momentum.

At the 2020 Espy Awards, Russell Wilson, Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe joined together to deliver a powerful introductory speech. During that speech, Russell made a request: “To my white teammates and friends, we need you to lead too. Don’t just listen, help.” It inspired me to genuinely consider what I could do with my background in sports technology and social entrepreneurship to leverage the megaphone of sports to help highlight, articulate and advance the national conversation regarding issues of social justice. I also thought about what might help New York City with its recovery from the pandemic, and assist in stimulating the economy in some small way.

I came to this conclusion: creating a National Sports Museum™ (NSM) with a strong focus on the power of sports to elicit positive social and cultural transformations would help address these critical issues by using the contextual framework of sports in uniquely interactive and compelling ways. It would tell uplifting stories, impart important lessons and become a well-respected cultural institution, a “Smithsonian of Sports”, to help draw tourists to NYC.

VISION

NSM will celebrate sports’ profound impact on our national identity and pay tribute to socially conscious athletes who use their platform as leaders to effect meaningful change. With exhibits like Dream Big, Breaking Barriers, Social Justice, Building the Perfect Athlete, and More Than a Game, this venue will accentuate sports’ societal and cultural influence, particularly its power to amplify messages of social justice.

As such, it will serve as a forum and gathering place to not only celebrate athletic achievement, but also bring people together around the unifying aspects of sports to address a multitude of social and cultural issues. Ultimately, NSM aspires to join forces with other foundations and charities nationwide that are addressing these issues through meaningful action, not just discussion, and enthusiastically promote as well as financially contribute to these causes.

Almost all of the exhibits will be hands-on and interactive, making visitors an integral part of the experience. By utilizing the latest interactive technologies, such as holographic imagery, sports simulations and extended reality, this fully immersive “attraction-museum” will bring the history of sports to life. Its focus on education, particularly through its Sports P.L.U.S. (Personal Learning Using Sports) modules will enhance the experience even further. As Nelson Mandela wrote: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” This new venue is being designed to harness that power in order to facilitate change, inspire, and unite.