NBA introduces Jr NBA / WNBA Skills Challenge in India
MUMBAI, India, March 14, 2011 – The most comprehensive Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA program ever in India tipped off today in Mumbai with the first of a series of coaching clinics. Students from approximately 500 schools in Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Pune will participate in the NBA’s international youth basketball development program that builds the game of basketball within schools and teaches its fundamentals and values to youth in a fun environment. This will mark the first-ever NBA initiative held in Pune as the league continues to expand in India.
The Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA program in India is being supported by Basketball Federation of India (BFI), HP, Spalding, and Ten Sports.
“The Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA program will not only provide access to basketball for thousands of children across the country, but will help develop quality coaches who can become ambassadors for our sport,” said NBA India Senior Director of Development, Akash Jain. “We believe this program is a logical next step in our commitment to growing the game in India, and thanks to the support of our partners we will be reaching a large number of players and coaches in five major cities, including our first NBA event in Pune.”
At the core of the program is the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Skills Challenge, a competition for boys and girls ages 10 to 12 that tests participants’ abilities in various basketball fundamentals, including dribbling, passing, and shooting. Local Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA coaches will implement the first round of competition in approximately 100 schools in each of the five cities. Four winners from each school – two girls and two boys – will move on to compete in a citywide competition of 400 participants with 10 winners from each city (5 boys and 5 girls) moving on to compete in front of an NBA star at the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA National Skills Challenge on May 14. One boy and one girl will be crowned Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Skills Challenge Champions and will each win an all expenses paid trip to New York City where they will have the opportunity to train with an NBA coach, visit NBA league headquarters and historic landmarks throughout the city.
In order to provide coaches necessary resources to establish a consistent and sustained basketball curriculum in schools, the NBA has partnered with the BFI and HP to distribute a Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA ‘Basketball in a Box’ kit to 500 schools across India. This box will include a coaching guide customized for India, a Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Skills Challenge overview, clipboard, stopwatch, basketballs, and other equipment. Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA coaches will learn about fundamental skill development at the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Skills Challenge from NBA coaches at two-day coaching clinics that will be held in each city to tip off the program.
As official partner of the Jr. NBA/Jr.WNBA Skills Challenge, HP will award HP Mini Notebook laptops to each of the National Skills Challenge winners and to the top coach in each city. HP Dream Screens will be integrated within all coaching clinics to show instructional videos and teaching materials.
“HP has enjoyed partnering with the NBA for over two years and we are excited about the Jr. NBA program because it will help us drive a stronger connection with India’s promising youth through the adrenaline rushing game of basketball,” said HP India Chief Marketing Officer, PSG, Ranjivjit Singh. “The NBA and HP will take the enthusiasm for the event to a different level by taking two lucky winners of the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA National Skills Challenge to New York for a once-in-a-lifetime NBA experience. In line with HP’s commitment of superior experience, enhanced value and excitement, we are certain that Jr. NBA will be a thrilling ‘Slam Dunk’ experience this summer for youngsters.”
Ten Sports and Spalding will also serve as partners for the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA India program. Ten Sports will create promotional spots encouraging participation across all cities and will produce special content around the event which will air on its channels. Spalding will provide equipment for the ‘Basketball in a Box’ and supply basketballs for all clinics and competitions. The BFI is the NBA’s core logistics and operations partner for the program.
Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Skills Challenge participants and coaches will be able to keep up with their competition by visiting NBA.com India, which will include program information, coaching and player guides, training videos, and player highlights.
The first Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA program staged in India was the 2008 Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Hoops School in Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai. The five-week program included coaching and youth clinics and tournaments conducted at between 20 and 25 schools in each city. Additionally, coaching guides and posters were distributed throughout the country, reaching more than 500,000 youth.
The NBA first visited India in 2008 when it staged its Basketball without Borders program in New Delhi. Since then, the NBA’s presence in the country has grown significantly through grassroots development programs and large-scale fan events. In addition to the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Hoop School held in 2008, NBA Jam, the league’s interactive, touring property, was held in 2009 and 2010 bringing the excitement of the NBA to fans across India. The league launched the first season of the Mahindra NBA Challenge, a community-based basketball league, in 2010 and expanded it to include leagues in five cities in 2011, making it the largest grassroots basketball program in India in its second season. The NBA has also refurbished four basketball courts in India through NBA Cares, the league’s global social responsibility platform.