ABU DHABI, 16th January, 2023 (WAM) — The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, (DCT Abu Dhabi) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), today announced the launch of the second season of the Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi Expansion League, Including boys’ and girls’ leagues, each comprising 450 players, aged 11-14, from schools across the UAE capital.
The league will begin on January 21 and culminate with the second annual Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League Finals on Sunday, March 12.
The program kicked off with a draft event hosted by DCT Abu Dhabi and the NBA at the three-court facility on the NYU Abu Dhabi campus on Saturday, January 14. The 60 participating youth teams (30 men’s teams and 30 women’s teams) were assigned an NBA season team, received corresponding NBA team brand jerseys, and participated in basketball training, skill challenges and competitions.
DCT Abu Dhabi Chairman Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak; NBA Europe and Middle East General Manager Ralph Rivera; seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady; 10-year NBA veteran Luis Scola attended the event and spoke with youth Player interaction.
The Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League expanded from 30 teams in its inaugural season in March 2022 to 60 teams next season. The program is part of a groundbreaking multi-year partnership between the NBA and DCT Abu Dhabi, which will host the first-ever preseason NBA game in the Arabian Gulf in October 2022.
Al Mubarak said: “Abu Dhabi is contributing to the development of youth basketball globally as we encourage our youth to be active and enrich their lives with the values of respect, teamwork and the game. It is great to see the success of our youth players Grassroots passion and excitement, which will only fuel more interest in the sport and pave the way for a new generation of home-grown sports talent, inspired by the youth NBA and many sports in Abu Dhabi”
Meanwhile, Rivera said: “We are delighted to partner with DCT Abu Dhabi to expand the Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League and provide more Emirati youth with the opportunity to learn the fundamentals and core values of the sport. Local School Interest has been overwhelming, so we are encouraged that the program has doubled in size and will only continue to grow and provide more opportunities for youth players and coaches to get involved in the sport.”
For his part, McGrady commented, “It was fun to interact with the youth teams participating in the second Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League and witness their excitement for the upcoming season. Basketball is a global game that transcends countries and cultures. sport and I am excited to play a role in the development of basketball in Abu Dhabi.”
The Jr. NBA, the league’s global youth basketball program for boys and girls, teaches at the grassroots level the fundamental skills and core values of the game — teamwork, respect, determination and community — in an effort to help youth basketball develop and improve players, coaches and parents experience of.
The Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League aims to promote the values of the sport and encourage youth to lead an active and healthy lifestyle through participation in sports. During the 2022-23 season, the Jr. NBA will host 111 leagues across Europe and the Middle East, reaching a total of nearly 50,000 youth in 28 countries.
The partnership also sees DCT Abu Dhabi become the NBA’s Official Destination Partner in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and China under the UAE capital’s tourism promotion program ‘Experience Abu Dhabi’.