The NBA made an unprecedented move today when they released a statement announcing the beginning of the Jr. NBA World Championship, which will be held August 7-12 in 2018.
Per the statement, the tournament is “a first-of-its kind global youth basketball tournament for the top boys and girls teams ages 14 and under from around the world.”
“The Jr. NBA World Championship will feature boys and girls divisions, each comprised of 16 regional champions (eight U.S. and eight international teams) that will receive all-expenses-paid trips to compete in the inaugural event Aug. 7-12, 2018 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla. Located at Walt Disney World Resort, the world-class venue regularly hosts elite and recreational youth sports competitions.”
The NBA is aiming to promote four core values — teamwork, respect, determination and community — and also the important of youth development for their game. In including both US and International teams, the NBA is addressing the growing global popularity of their brand. The game has been getting infused with European talent for the last 20 some odd years, and the NBA is reaching out its hand to help keep that momentum going.
From the NBA.com release:
The Jr. NBA World Championship will align with the NBA and USA Basketball Youth Guidelines, which promote health and wellness in several ways including recommending age-appropriate limits on the number of games that youth should play. All coaches participating in the Jr. NBA World Championship will also be required to be trained and licensed by USA Basketball (U.S.-based coaches) or FIBA (international coaches).
Youth at the Jr. NBA World Championship will not only compete on the court but will also receive off-court life skills education and participate in NBA Cares community service projects.
“The Jr. NBA World Championship represents another significant step in our effort to promote youth basketball globally,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “And in addition to high-level competition on the court, participants will learn from NBA and WNBA veterans and coaches the values of the game and the most appropriate training techniques.”
Cleveland Cavaliers guard and three-time NBA Champion Dwyane Wade and Los Angeles Sparks forward and WNBA Champion Candace Parker will serve as lead global ambassadors for the Jr. NBA World Championship.
“I am excited to serve as a global ambassador for the Jr. NBA World Championship,” said Wade. “Basketball means so much to me and my family, and I look forward to helping the NBA improve the game at the youth level for the next generation of players from around the world.”
“The Jr. NBA World Championship is a great initiative that will connect U.S. and international youth in a meaningful way,” said Parker. “As a global ambassador, I’m looking forward to making a positive impact on the participants, both on and off the court.”
The Jr. NBA World Championship will tip off in spring 2018 with U.S. and international competitions across various regional sites. The winning boys and girls teams from eight newly-created U.S. regional tournaments (Central, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast and West), plus teams representing eight international regions (Africa & Middle East, Asia Pacific, Canada, China, Europe, India, Mexico and South America), will compete in the culminating event at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
The international competition will leverage the Jr. NBA’s extensive global reach. During the 2017-18 season, the NBA will reach more than 26 million youth in 71 countries through a variety of camps, clinics, skills challenges, league play and outreach events.
The Jr. NBA World Championship will be separated into U.S. and international brackets that include round-robin competition followed by single-elimination boys and girls tournaments. Winners of the U.S. and international brackets will play in the championship games on Aug. 12.
The NBA has a real chance to become the premier league in not just this country, but the entire world as well. The NFL is easily the most popular sport in the United States right now, but is going through a tumultuous season. Ratings are dwindling amongst people boycotting due to the national anthem protests and the violence that made it so popular in the first place is now turning some viewers off.
Silver seems to be the perfect commissioner to guide the NBA through these times. Not only was he instrumental in negotiating massive TV deals with ESPN and Turner Network Television, which allowed the NBA salary cap to skyrocket, but he’s been progressive in dealing with league matters as well.
He quickly ousted Los Angeles Clippers ex-owner Donald Sterling after his racists remarks towards Magic Johnson and others came to light. Silver also championed the new jersey advertisements, something that is widely popular in leagues around the world, and is a big proponent of legalizing sports gambling so the leagues can better regulate it.
This new tournament is just the latest example of Silver’s vision of the NBA and how he is leading the league into greater heights.
Here is how NBA.com describes the Jr. NBA:
The Jr. NBA presented by Under Armour is the league’s youth basketball participation program that provides a fun environment for kids to learn the fundamentals and values of the game. The Jr. NBA is focused on helping grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents, and offers a free curriculum covering all levels of the game that includes 48 practice plans and more than 250 instructional videos featuring NBA and WNBA players. The Jr. NBA World Championship, a first-of-its kind global youth basketball tournament for the top 14U boys and girls teams from around the world, will take place in August 2018.
In partnership with USA Basketball, the NBA developed the first set of youth basketball guidelines in October 2016, with an emphasis on player health and wellness. Through a network of affiliated youth basketball organizations and programs such as the Jr. NBA Skills Challenge presented by Verizon and 3v3 Leagues presented by Shock Doctor, the Jr. NBA program has reached more than five million youth ages 6-14 in the U.S. and Canada since launching its expanded efforts in October 2015. The Jr. NBA partnership network is comprised of youth basketball programs of all NBA, WNBA and NBA G League teams as well as elementary and middle schools, military bases and longstanding community partners. For more information and to register for the Jr. NBA, visit www.JrNBA.com or download the Jr. NBA app.
The NBA is taking over on a global scale.