Iconic UCLA Athletes to Participate in Summit and Elevate the Value of Sports & Play for Youth in the Learning Environment

The LA84 Foundation Play Equity Summit will include as featured speakers award-winning gymnast, activist and UCLA alumna Katelyn Ohashi, as well as Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook and his wife, Nina – also former UCLA Bruins. The LA84 Foundation’s summit is Tuesday, June 28, 2022, at the JW Marriott L.A. LIVE, and is centered on the theme, “Elevate Play in a Post-Covid World.” 

As an eight-time All-American at UCLA and four-time member of USA Gymnastics’ junior national team, Ohashi is one of the most decorated gymnasts in UCLA history. She earned 11 perfect 10s — including for a 2019 floor routine that amassed over 225 million video views online. She was Pac-12 specialist of the year in 2018 as well as 2019, and conference and NCAA co-champion in the floor exercise and balance beam. During her senior year, Ohashi took first place in each of her first seven routines.  

In addition to her studies and gymnastics achievements, Ohashi led fundraisers as a student to help homeless individuals. She volunteered for Project Heal, a nonprofit focused on helping people recover from eating disorders. As a motivational speaker and activist, she continues to advocate for body positivity. Ohashi recently was chosen to be UCLA’s class of 2022 commencement speaker. 

Russell Westbrook is a nine-time NBA All-Star and earned NBA MVP for the 2016-17 season. He led the NBA in scoring in 2014-15 and 2016-17 and won back-to-back NBA All-Star Game MVP awards in 2015 and ’16. During each of Westbrook’s seasons at UCLA from 2007-08, the Bruins advanced to the Final Four. Westbrook was born in Long Beach and grew up in Hawthorne. His wife, Nina, is a licensed therapist, businesswoman and philanthropist. She also played basketball at UCLA, appearing in 124 games, after a standout career at Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, where she was named the CIF Player of the Year twice.   

The Westbrooks are committed to philanthropic endeavors through their Why Not? Foundation, to inspire the lives of young people, and teach them to always ask themselves, “why not?” Their efforts include the Russell Westbrook Why Not? High School in Los Angeles, which seeks to provide a transformational education to students in South LA, and improve the future of an entire community. 

The LA84 Foundation Play Equity Summit will focus on how sports, play and healthy movement can transform the educational experience for kids. To increase the social, emotional and physical well-being of youth who are currently facing unprecedented challenges, the summit will explore new strategies to elevate the value of organized sports and structured play in the educational environment.  

For tickets, including a reduced rate for educators, visit: la84.org/summit-2022/ 


The summit brings together researchers, athletes, coaches, and organizations working in youth development, sports, education, policy and philanthropy. The summit engages with this wide range of leaders to improve the lives of our most vulnerable youth by prioritizing sport and play as essential for a healthy body, mind and spirit – as well as to inspire student success in the classroom.