NJTL student-athlete Tory Bailey honored by ESPN

Bailey and his fellow honorees with Billie Jean King at the event.
July 23, 2021 10:00 AM

Tory Bailey, a decorated student-athlete at the Pete Brown Junior Tennis Program in central Los Angeles, recognized an inequity in his community and set out to change it. 

Last week at The Rooftop at Pier 17, located within the Seaport in New York City, his efforts were recognized and honored by both ESPN and the legendary tennis champion Billie Jean King as one of six recipients of her namesake Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award, part of the network's Sports Humanitarian Awards.

Bailey, a 2021 graduate of the virtual public high school Capistrano Connections Academy, was honored for his activism for other tennis players of similar educational backgrounds.

Unable to play organized high school tennis in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) as an independent player because of the state's current bylaws for both charter and home school students, Bailey worked with the Pete Brown Junior Tennis Program to develop a community tennis program for non-traditional high school players. Currently, charter and home school students in California can only join their school district’s public school tennis teams upon the team’s coach granting them permission to be a part of the team, creating an inequitable opportunity for kids to compete in the sport.

With the help of the PBJTP, Bailey created a community plan that proposes a change to CIF’s current entry process policy for students in the Southern Los Angeles Unified School District, charter and private schools and homeschooling programs.

He believes that tennis can open the door of equal opportunity for inner-city students who come from low-income environments, and is fighting for a community tennis program that will allow for these non-traditional high school players to compete in CIF’s tennis season and playoffs.

"All the honorees worked so hard, sacrificed so much and invested their heart to be change makers in their communities," said Marty Woods, executive directory of the PBJTP. "This means so much to the PBJTP, and confirms that our work is impacting the youth in our community."

In addition to his community service in interscholastic tennis, Bailey also served others by working as a junior assistant coach in the PBJTP with its quick-start program for young children, and also volunteered with programs to feed the homeless.

A member of the Southern California section's championship Junior Team Tennis boys' 18s team, Bailey will pursue his academic interests of computer science and compete on the tennis team at Howard University starting this fall. He also competed in American Tennis Association (ATA) tournaments as a member of the ATA Junior Leadership Council.

The Sports Humanitarian Awards, in their seventh year in 2021, celebrate and honor athletes, teams, leagues and members of the sports industry for using sport to make a positive impact on society. Highlights from the seventh annual Sports Humanitarian Awards will be showcased on Saturday, July 24, during a special, 90-minute program at 2 p.m. ET on ABC.



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