Wednesday June 3rd, 2015

The NBA will expand its global youth basketball program in the United States and Canada this October in hopes of reaching five million children over the next two years, the league announced Wednesday.

The Jr. NBA program is intended for boys and girls ages 6-14 to help them learn the fundamentals of the game as well as “emphasizing sportsmanship, respect, teamwork, and healthy living." The program is already active in four continents, with plans to expand to South America soon.

“Our expanded commitment to the Jr. NBA will go far beyond participation,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.  “We will focus on sharing the values of our game and providing an infrastructure to ensure that basketball is played and taught properly at the grassroots level.”

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The league says they are developing a network with many of their longstanding partners in the community, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, Special Olympics, and the YMCA.

David Krichavsky, who implemented Heads Up Football for the National Football League, was hired by the league to lead the expanded Jr. NBA efforts.

The Jr. NBA will also work with the NBA, WNBA, and NBA Development League teams’ local youth basketball programs.

The NBA also plans to announce a youth basketball leadership council and partnership with USA Basketball’s Coach Licensing Program and Curriculum, with a focus on educating coaches.

- Scooby Axson

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