The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) announced the launch of Jr. NBA Leagues today. Parents and kids can soon enjoy the new national network of youth basketball leagues for boys and girls ages 6-14. The program will start with leagues in 11 U.S. markets in November 2022. Then, the league will expand nationwide with the goal of reaching nearly a half million participants annually by 2027.
Curious if your city will have a Jr. NBA League? The leagues will start in Sacramento, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; Boise, Idaho; Louisville, Ky.; New Orleans, La.; Kansas City, Mo.; Omaha, Neb.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Philadelphia, Pa.; San Antonio, Texas; and Seattle, Wash.
Jr. NBA Leagues will focus on providing youth across socio-economic, racial, and gender lines with access to best-in-class recreational basketball. Which is more important than ever following the disruption to youth sports access and the decrease in community-based sports providers caused by the pandemic.
“The youth basketball ecosystem has experienced unique challenges over the past two-plus years, and we are committed to addressing those challenges with programs like Jr. NBA Leagues, which is the most expansive grassroots basketball initiative we’ve ever launched in the U.S.,” said NBA Senior Vice President, Head of Youth Basketball Development David Krichavsky.
“We look forward to using the resources and expertise of the NBA, WNBA, and our teams to support recreational and community-based youth basketball programs at a time when they need it most, while also enhancing the playing experience for hundreds of thousands of boys and girls.”
RCX Sports, a Jr. NBA partner since 2018, will be the program’s official operating partner. All Jr. NBA Leagues members – which will include a combination of community-based organizations, schools, and independent operators – will receive a toolkit of resources. For example, they’ll be provided training opportunities and basketball curricula designed to enhance league effectiveness, gameplay, and on-court and off-court player and coach development.
“RCX Sports is committed to creating best-in-class experiences for all youth athletes, regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic background,” said RCX Sports CEO Izell Reese. “We are proud to work with the NBA on another youth program that will provide access and resources to young basketball players across the country.”
Jr. NBA Leagues participants will represent NBA and WNBA teams in their home markets and across the leagues by competing in official team-branded uniforms. Jr. NBA Leagues in NBA or WNBA markets, including Las Vegas (Aces), New Orleans (Pelicans), Philadelphia (76ers) Sacramento (Kings), San Antonio (Spurs), Seattle (Storm), and Washington (Wizards and Mystics), will also offer other unique benefits. Youth players and parents will enjoy exclusive experiences to promote the game of basketball and generate excitement around their hometown teams.
In addition, the Jr. NBA will partner with SHAPE America (Society of Health and Physical Educators), a professional association that serves more than 200,000 health and physical education professionals across the country, to provide 40 Title I schools across the country with Jr. NBA programming, resources, and basketball development curricula. Making it possible to host after-school Jr. NBA Leagues, and improve how the game is taught and played in physical education classes.
Plus, high school students will receive the opportunity to enroll in a Jr. NBA Referee Development Program. During which they’d learn the necessary skills to become a referee and gain an understanding of the career opportunities in officiating. Look out for this unique opportunity to grow your game in your hometown.