NBA and WNBA set to launch recreational leagues for children across the country

FILE - The NBA logo in shown on a basketball court in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., in this Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, file photo. Pacers coach Rick Carlisle says his new team has a very high vaccination rate but declined to give a specific number because of privacy concerns. He did say Monday during NBA media day that all members of the Indiana coaching staff are fully vaccinated. Carlisle is back in Indiana, where he coached from 2003 through 2007. Training camps open Tuesday and the pandemic will affect a third NBA season and already means some players will be missing on media day.(AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool, File) (Ashley Landis, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) announced the launch of Jr. NBA Leagues, according to a league press release.

“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.

The leagues are a national network of youth basketball leagues for boys and girls ages 6-14.

The program will tip off with leagues across the following 11 markets in the U.S. in November 2022 before expanding nationwide with the goal of reaching nearly a half million participants annually.

Jr. NBA Leagues will focus on providing youth across socio-economic, racial and gender lines with access to best-in-class recreational basketball.

The initiative is based on research about the disruption to youth sports access and the decrease in community-based sports providers caused by the pandemic.

RCX Sports, a Jr. NBA partner, will serve as the program’s official operating partner.

All Jr. NBA Leagues members will include a combination of community-based organizations, schools, and independent operators.

They will receive a robust suite of resources including training opportunities and basketball curricula designed to enhance league effectiveness.

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 will offer unique benefits and include exclusive experiences for youth players and parents to promote the game of basketball and generate excitement around the hometown teams.

Additionally, high school students will receive the opportunity to enroll in a Jr. NBA Referee Development Program.

Within it, students will get to learn the necessary skills to become a referee and gain an understanding of the career opportunities in officiating.

More information about Jr. NBA Leagues is available here.

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