High on grassroots development through the Jr. NBA program

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Jr. NBA grassroots development
The grassroots development Jr. NBA program has been running for 11 years. -- JR. NBA PHILIPPINES

NOW RUNNING in the country for the 11th straight year, the Jr. NBA program has afforded many youths the opportunity to experience a holistic basketball experience designed not only to develop their hoops skills but also hone them as productive individuals.

And more of this can be expected, the National Basketball Association (NBA) said, as it is one of the key initiatives they have in the country, recognizing the long-term impact it has had.

Speaking to a group of sports media in a recent roundtable discussion at the NBA Philippines office, NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum reiterated their backing for the Jr. NBA program as it is very much representative of their push for true grassroots development.

“We are high on our grassroots development program, specifically our Jr. NBA programs,” said Mr. Tatum who was in the country as part of a tour of the region where the NBA has a presence.

“We really want to get more kids playing the game. That’s going to be our contribution to getting more kids healthy and active. By teaching the game of basketball, there are so many wonderful benefits. You also learn valuable life lessons. It’s not just how to learn to shoot, pass or dribble. You learn how to be a good teammate, how to work hard, how to get better, overcome adversities, how to lose gracefully, and how to win gracefully. These life lessons are important lessons to teach children. That’s why we’re investing in more kids playing the game of basketball,” the NBA executive said.

Anchored on the Jr. NBA core S.T.A.R. values of Sportsmanship, Teamwork, a positive Attitude and Respect, for more than decade the program has been going around the country sharing its vision and mission through a variety of camps, clinics, skills challenges, league play, and outreach events.

It has gone to produce a number of alumni who are now making waves and doing well at the professional and amateur basketball levels as well as outside of the basketball court.

“With the help of our partners here, we hope to continue growing the Jr. NBA program,” Mr. Tatum said, adding that they see the future of basketball in the Philippines as “fantastic.”

The 2018 Jr. NBA Philippines National Training Camp will be held later this week, with NBA up-and-coming star Willie Cauley-Stein and WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes gracing the event.

The culminating activity of the program, the training camp will feature the top 75 boys and girls, aged 10 to 14, culled from the various selection camps which were held previously.

The camp will be held on May 19 at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati before moving to the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall on May 20.

“Participating in sports and having proper nutrition are both integral parts of a child’s holistic development as it touches on physical, emotional and mental well-being. Through the Jr. NBA program, I look forward to this opportunity to contribute to our goal of getting more kids, especially girls, to play the game of basketball and help them understand how working hard on their craft in the same way it opened doors for my career, can unlock greater opportunities in life,” said Ms. Swoopes.

Also at the Natonal Training Camp, the search for the 2018 Coaches of the Year will conclude and the winning coaches will take part in the NBA experience trip alongside the Jr. NBA All-Stars. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo