The 2015 NBA season officially begins on October 27. But yesterday, the league celebrated a different kind of tip off.
On Monday, the NBA introduced a reshaped, modernized Jr. NBA. It’s a participation program designed to enhance the youth basketball experience for players ages 6-14, coaches, parents, teams, and organizations. And as part of the new Jr. NBA, every NBA, WNBA, and D-League team will partner with community partners such as the Boys and Girls Club and YMCA’s to grow an even bigger network dedicated to youth basketball.
The debut of the new-look Jr. NBA was just the beginning. Over the next week, more than 100 Jr. NBA clinics and practices will be held at NBA cities across the country to kick off the program.
“The goal in building the organization is establishing relationships with these youth basketball organizations and really providing them with a number of benefits that will allow them to take their youth basketball programs to the next level,” said vice president of youth basketball David Krichavsky.
One of the most exciting elements of the new program is the digital component with specialized instructional content. A new Jr.NBA.com launched yesterday, and an app will debut later this week.
“We went to some of the best NBA players and best NBA coaches and got them to do instructional modules on fundamental skills,” Krichavsky said. “So we have [players like] Chris Paul doing a module on ball handling, Jeff Teague on passing, John Wall on defense. There’s nowhere else where you can get that kind of content with NBA all-stars and coaches providing content with information you can use to take your game to the next level.”
But that’s just where the superstars begin to get involved.
A new Jr. NBA Leadership Council, chaired by former U.S. General Martin E. Dempsey (the highest-ranking military officer in the country), is coming together to help shape the program. And some of the biggest names in the NBA will be involved.
“All-stars like Steph Curry and Anthony Davis, NBA legends, a great cross-section of WNBA players are now on the leadership council,” Krichavsky said. “We’re also excited about some of the people’s experience off of the court, someone like Spike Lee who’s had great influence on basketball from a fan and media perspective. We also have commentators like Doris Burke and Ernie Johnson. We’re excited about what this group can bring to our effort.”
By signing up for Jr. NBA, you receive unique benefits, including access to several live events – including camps, clinics and visits from NBA stars and legends – that will take place around the country.
Over the next two years, the program will reach nearly 5 million kids in the US and Canada. And it all starts this week.
Visit the Jr. NBA website for more information on the program and to find events happening in your community.
Photos: NBAE/Getty Images