Emily Ratajkowski sponsors Bantry Basketball Club in County Cork

Two teen basketball teams in a small Irish coastal town will soon have a spring in their step after securing sponsorship from a US supermodel.

Emily Ratajkowski answered a funding appeal for kit for the under-15 and under-16 boys of Bantry Basketball Club in County Cork ahead of the new season.

Her support has set the teams’ Snapchat group “on fire”, said coach Pat Curran.

He said the family of the model, actress and activist had long been “ingrained” in the Bantry community.

The 30-year-old’s parents have a home in the town and her father John played for the basketball club “about 20 years ago”, Pat told BBC News NI.

‘Very decent people’

The closure of many Irish businesses during the country’s Covid-19 lockdown had meant that the club was finding it difficult to get sponsorship this year.

“I was speaking John the other night so I just said to him if Emily would be interested in sponsoring one of the teams,” said the coach.

“He texted her and she was back within five minutes, saying: ‘Absolutely I’d love to do it’.

“They’re very decent people.”

Her financial support will help to buy new kits and cover training expenses for the teams over the next two years.

But Pat said the deal was about much more than money.

He said Ratajkowski’s “great sense of social justice” made her an inspiration for the club’s young players.

“Everyone knows Emily Ratajkowski, the model and the actress, but there’s a lot more to her,” he said. BBC

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