The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced the Jr. NBA World Championship, 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 European regional champion will consist of the top players from Jr. NBA League programs across 17 countries in Europe (Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey). Each program is invited to nominate their best Jr. NBA League players to compete at a selection camp in Slovenia for the 10 available spots on the boys and girls teams that will represent Europe in the Jr. NBA World Championship. The selection camp will take place in April 2018.
In showcasing the world’s top young talent, the Jr. NBA World Championship will be centered on four core values – teamwork, respect, determination and community – that will set a new standard in youth basketball development. In collaboration with USA Basketball and FIBA, the competition will promote standards of safe play as well as the proper training and licensing of coaches to enhance the experience for everyone involved.
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.
Media and marketing partners for the Jr. NBA World Championship will be announced at a later date.
More information about the Jr. NBA World Championship can be found at jrnba.com/worldchampionship. Registration for teams to compete in the Jr. NBA World Championship is not yet open but those that sign up online will be notified as soon as registration information is available.
Source: Pitch London
Image: Getty / NBAE