NBA and WNBA to launch national network of youth basketball leagues to enhance and expand recreational basketball across the country
NEW YORK – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) today announced the launch of Jr. NBA Leagues, 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 by 2027: 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; 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.
RCX Sports, a Jr. NBA partner since 2018 and market leader in youth sports experiences, will serve as 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 robust suite of resources including training opportunities and basketball curricula designed to enhance league effectiveness, gameplay, and on-court and off-court player and coach development.
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 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.
Building on the Jr. NBA’s commitment to providing broad-based access to the sport and eliminating barriers to participation, 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 to host afterschool Jr. NBA Leagues and improve how the game is taught and played in physical education classes. Additionally, high school students will receive the opportunity to enroll in a Jr. NBA Referee Development Program to learn the necessary skills to become a referee and gain an understanding of the career opportunities in officiating.
“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 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.”
More information about Jr. NBA Leagues is available on JrNBALeagues.com. To learn more about the Jr. NBA, visit jr.nba.com or follow the Jr. NBA on Facebook (Jr. NBA), Instagram (@jrnba), YouTube (Jr. NBA) and Twitter (@jrnba).
About the Jr. NBA
The Jr. NBA is the league’s global youth basketball program for boys and girls that teaches the fundamental skills and core values of the game: teamwork, respect, determination and community. The Jr. NBA is focused on helping grow and improve the youth basketball experience at the grassroots level for players, coaches and parents, and offers a free curriculum covering all levels of the game that includes 48 practice plans and more than 250 instructional videos featuring NBA and WNBA players. During the 2019-20 season, the NBA and its teams reached 14.5M youth around the world through in-person events and clinics, before transitioning to virtual programming and online youth basketball development events that generated more than 210M views from youth players and fans in 118 countries. For more information visit www.JrNBA.com or download the Jr. NBA app.
About the NBA
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a global sports and media organization with the mission to inspire and connect people everywhere through the power of basketball. Built around five professional sports leagues: the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League, the NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming available in 215 countries and territories in more than 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 200 countries and territories on all seven continents. NBA rosters at the start of the 2021-22 season featured a record 121 international players from 40 countries. NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass. The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 2.1 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.
About the WNBA
The WNBA, which tipped off its 26th season on May 6, 2022, is a bold, progressive basketball league that stands for the power of women. Featuring 12 teams, the W is a unique sports property that combines competition and entertainment with a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and social responsibility. Through its world-class athletes, the in-game fan experience, TV and digital broadcasts, digital and social content and community outreach programs, the league celebrates and elevates the game of basketball and the culture around it.
In 2020, the WNBA and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) signed a groundbreaking eight-year CBA that charts a new course for women’s basketball – and women’s sports overall – with a focus on increased player compensation, improvements to the player experience, expanded career development opportunities and resources specifically tailored to the female professional athlete. Key elements of the agreement are supported through the league’s partnership platform, WNBA Changemakers, with AT&T, the WNBA’s Marquee Partner and inaugural Changemaker, as well as fellow inaugural Changemakers Deloitte and NIKE, Inc, and subsequent additions Google and U.S. Bank. During the 2020 season, the WNBA and WNBPA launched the WNBA Justice Movement forming the Social Justice Council with the mission of being a driving force of necessary change and continuing conversations about race and voting rights, among other important societal issues.
RCX Sports is the premier youth-sports experiences business, running and operating leagues, camps, combines, tournaments, and events.
RCX works with professional leagues, national governing bodies, sports-centric businesses and brands to reimagine youth sports experiences. RCX produces events with world-class partners including the NFL, Jr. NBA, MLB, NHL, NAIA, Rivals.com and the 2022 World Games.
RCX is committed to improving the accessibility and inclusivity of sports by enhancing the youth sports experience and creating opportunities for all athletes to play. We believe sports have the power to transform lives and that every athlete should have the opportunity to experience the value of sports. For more information, visit http://www.rcxsports.com.