NEW YORK – The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced the formation of Jr. NBA Court of Leaders, a youth leadership council comprised of 18 15- and 16-year-old basketball players from across the U.S. Launched in conjunction with the sixth annual Jr. NBA Week (April 11-17), Jr. NBA Court of Leaders aims to empower promising young men and women by providing resources to further develop as leaders and a platform to amplify their voices within their communities and across the youth basketball landscape.
The youth-led council will be comprised of eight boys and 10 girls from diverse backgrounds and communities across the country who demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities at the 2018 and 2019 Jr. NBA Global Championship and have continued to distinguish themselves on- and off-the-court since those events. Jr. NBA Court of Leaders will be co-chaired by the Minnesota Lynx’s Napheesa Collier and Memphis Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. who have previously worked with youth athletes and supported the league’s basketball development programming as Jr. NBA ambassadors.
Jr. NBA Court of Leaders members will participate in personal development programming focused on topics including leadership, decision-making, mental wellness and civic engagement, and convene monthly for webinars and workshops featuring guest speakers to broaden their understanding of issues related to social justice, gender equality and career opportunities in the sports industry. The young men and women will also meet with the NBA’s youth basketball development team on a quarterly basis to offer insights on improving the youth basketball experience and enhancing Jr. NBA programs and events to meet young players’ evolving needs. The group will also collaborate on an annual social responsibility project to positively impact their communities.
“I remember being in the same position as these young girls and boys not long ago, trying to realize my potential as a player and find my voice to inspire those around me,” said Collier. “I’m excited to get to know all of the Jr. NBA Court of Leaders members and help advance their personal development and community impact.”
“It’s an awesome thing to see the Jr. NBA providing a platform to reward and empower young athletes who have displayed exceptional passion, leadership and work ethic,” said Jackson Jr. “The basketball space needs more young voices advocating for their peers and the future of the sport, and I look forward to supporting the Jr. NBA Court of Leaders as they create positive change on the court and in their communities.”
Each council member has been assigned a mentor from across the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League and NBA 2K League who will meet with their mentee regularly to guide their development and introduce them to ways they can be connected with sports beyond the court through careers in digital media, marketing, community engagement, youth basketball development and business operations, among other areas.
Members of the Jr. NBA Court of Leaders will be recognized in their local markets during the sixth annual Jr. NBA Week from April 11-17 as the NBA, its teams and players build on their ongoing commitment to teaching boys and girls the fundamental skills and core values of the game. Throughout the week, all 30 NBA teams will host virtual events and programming for players, parents, coaches and referees.
Jr. NBA Court of Leaders participants will be selected on an annual basis and a new group will be announced at the Jr. NBA Global Championship each August beginning in 2022. The inaugural Jr. NBA Court of Leaders includes:
- Royal Brown (N.Y.)
- Kanaan Carlyle (Ga.)
- Amani Hansberry (Md.)
- Lebbeus “LT” Overton (Ga.)
- Grant Stubblefield (Kan.)
- Quinton Webb (Calif.)
- Curtis Williams (Mich.)
- Aidan Wing (Kan.)
- Jadyn Donovan (Md.)
- Kendall Dudley (Va.)
- Mackenzie Nelson (Conn.)
- S’Mya Nichols (Kan.)
- Courtney Ogden (Ga.)
- Malia Samuels (Wash.)
- Sumayah Sugapong (Calif.)
- D’Asia Thomas (Texas)
- Jada Williams (Mo.)
- Solé Williams (Ohio)
For more information about the Jr. NBA, fans can visit http://jr.nba.com/, download the Jr. NBA Coach app, and follow the Jr. NBA on Facebook (Facebook.com/jrnba), Instagram (@jrnba) and Twitter (@jrnba).