Pickleball Gaining Popularity One Dink at a Time

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Playing Pickleball on a blue pickle ball court (Getty Images)

If you overheard someone shout, “nice dink in the kitchen!” you probably just walked by a pickleball court. Pickleball, the fastest growing sport in the United States, is taking over park and rec centers all over California as players clamor for more court time. Invented in 1965 by a Washington state congressman and his friend to entertain their bored kids, pickleball’s popularity took off during the pandemic, with an almost 40% increase in players. Across the country over four million people are playing pickleball, and its enthusiasts have formed a variety of professional organizations, leagues and tournaments with an eye to getting certified as an Olympic sport. We’ll look at how and why pickleball has become an American obsession. Have you picked up a paddle?


John Walters, sportswriter, Sports Illustrated; adjunct professor of Sports Media, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Walters wrote the Sports Illustrated cover story about pickleball "Barbarians in the Kitchen"

Rachel Simon, author, "Pickleball for All: Everything But the 'Kitchen' Sink" which comes out on August 30

Jordan Briones, pickleball professional and instructor; co-founder, Primetime Pickleball; creator, pickleball YouTube instruction channel: @brionespickleball.