Born Together, Hoop Together: Getting to Know The Nolan Twins

Sophia and Emma Nolan’s journey to Queens, and their quest for a career in sports.

From the basketball court at the Boys and Girls Club in Valparaiso, Indianapolis to Carnesecca Arena in Queens, New York, the Nolan twins have always stuck together. Emma and Sophia Nolan might not have always known basketball was the sport for them, but from the last four years, they’ve earned their spots on the St. John’s Women’s Basketball team. 

How They Ended Up at St. John’s

St. John’s University wasn’t always on Sophia and Emma’s radar. When sophomore year of high school came around, the Nolan twins decided to reconsider their commitment options. The sisters wanted to stay close to home in Indianapolis, and of course, stay together. Seemingly out of nowhere, the twins decided to check out St. John’s.  While New York City wasn’t close to home, they would be able to continue to explore their passion for basketball together. After a visit, they instantly fell in love with the school. 

It’s Not Just Basketball

While St. John’s offered them a spot on the Women’s Basketball team, their collegiate experience has been more than just about time on the court. Through the team, they’ve made long-lasting friendships with teammates and connections to follow them for whatever comes next for the twins. They’ve also had the opportunity to work with King, a little boy who fought cancer, through various events such as Toys-for-Tots. Both sisters enjoy participating in community service acts when possible and find it inspiring how strong King is. 

The Brand They’ve Created for Themselves  

TORCH PHOTO/ Sara Kiernan

On July 1st, 2021, NCAA athletes were granted permission to use their name, image and likeness (NIL) for a profit and the Nolan twins quickly got to work with brand partnerships. The rule change has been met with encouragement and support from the St. John’s Athletic Department, led by Athletics Director Mike Cragg. “We are thrilled to offer this new opportunity for our student-athletes to help maximize their potential in the world of NIL,” said Cragg in a press release.

With the help of their hometown trainer, Greg Jones, they were able to create a line through the clothing brand called PWRFWD. Their line features hoodies and t-shirts with their clever phrase “born together, hoop together.” The slogan embodies the twins’ drive to keep playing alongside each other. On the court, the mirrored numbers 14 and 41 are worn by Sophia and Emma, respectively. 

PWRFWD’s mission is to give power back to the athletes, Founder Luke Bonner goes on to explain. “Ultimately, we enable athletes to create products that speak to their athletic performance and authentic interests, bringing new avenues for fans to engage and support their favorite players — through meaningful, high-quality products,” according to the company’s website.  

Additionally, both sisters are Barstool Athletes — brand ambassadors for Barstool Sports — as part of a sports marketing agency formed in 2021, Barstool Athletes, Inc. The company was touted as a collegiate endorsement for the masses, as the primary requirement to join the Barstool Athletes, Inc. firm is to be a current NCAA Division I athlete, per Barstool Sports President Dave Portnoy on Twitter.

What’s Next for The Nolan Twins 

TORCH PHOTO/ Sara Kiernan

Emma Nolan is studying business marketing and is in the five-year program at the Tobin College of Business at the University. Sophia Nolan is also in a five-year program at Tobin, but is majoring in accounting. Both Nolan sisters are targeting a career in the sports industry — either as a marketing professional for the NBA or as part of an accounting firm dealing with sports. 

The Nolan twins have their own Instagram account dedicated to their brand, a sign of their devotion to both the athlete and marketing spheres of the sports entertainment industry.