Kenya’s grassroots basketball is set to receive a major boost next year from NBA Africa with the launch of the NBA Junior League.
The league which will target teenage players across the country will tip off in 2017 in a move that seeks to develop basketball stars of the future.
“NBA Africa has identified Kenya as one of the five priority countries due to the passion of basketball,” said NBA Africa Vice President and Managing Director Amadou Gallo Fall.
“Since we established our office in 2010, our key pillar is social responsibility and giving back to communities which is part of driving the popularity of the game around the world. We are delighted to be working with both the United States Embassy and the Gina Din Foundation on this project,” added Fall.
NBA is already running similar competitions in eight countries across Africa with twelve million players currently taking part.
Thirty teams will feature in the league which will follow a similar structure to the NBA.
They will be divided into the Eastern and Western Conferences with dominant sides proceeding to the playoffs, conference finals and finals. The winners will be awarded with a trophy and championship rings.
“The NBA is a superstar league across the globe and I believe that the junior league will be exciting addition to the Kenyan sports scene. It is for this reason that the United States will be awarding the league a grant of USD 10,000 (Kshs. 1,000,000) towards the competition,” said US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec.
“Young people will learn important skills not just on the court but in life as well. I’m looking forward to seeing Kenyan names on NBA rosters in the near future,” he added.
- Aga Khan Academy’s Diana Harvi (left ) in action against Kaya Tiwi High at Kenyatta High School in Mwatate, Taita Taveta County on March 25, 2016.