Junior NBA league to help further youth dreams

Updated: 2015-11-02 20:55

By Sun Xiaochen(chinadaily.com.cn)

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Junior NBA league to help further youth dreams

Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports deputy director Chen Jie, center left, NBA China CEO David Shoemaker and Wang Dingdong, deputy director of Beijing Municipal Education Commission with young players at the launch. Photo provided to China Daily

Playing in the NBA has been a fantasy for many hoop zealots and now a joint effort between the league and the Beijing educational authority could help Chinese teenagers realize their wildest dreams.

NBA China, the Beijing Municipal Education Commission and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports announced on Monday the launch of the first Jr. NBA Basketball League in China.

The school-based league for high-school students, which will tip off on Nov 24, features 30 boys' and 18 girls' teams, each representing one of the 30 NBA teams with respective team logos on their jerseys.

Divided into two conferences simulating the East and West in the NBA, each team will play eight games with the top eight from each conference advancing to the playoffs in January. The conference champions will then meet in the league final in March to determine the first Jr. NBA Basketball League champion of China.

The league is part of the existing partnership between NBA China and the Ministry of Education, formalized last October, to promote basketball and youth development in primary and secondary schools as well as universities.

"The passion for basketball is at an all-time high and the newly created junior league further demonstrates our commitment to growing the game in China," NBA China CEO David Shoemaker said at the launch.

"Through these strategic partnerships with the Beijing education commission and sports bureau, we will create more opportunities to provide fun and positive activities that will have a long-lasting impact on youth in the Beijing community."

Wang Dingdong, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Education Commission, said the pro-league-like exposure appeals to the youth.

"We are very pleased to partner with NBA China's Jr. NBA program to bring Beijing's youth the opportunity to participate in a robust basketball league program based on the professional model," Said Wang.

The Jr. NBA teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents. During the 2015-16 season, the Jr. NBA will reach more than 6.5 million young people in 32 countries.

Contact the writer through sunxiaochen@chinadaily.com.cn