NBA joins celebrations in honor of first-ever World Basketball Day

NEW YORK – The NBA today announced its celebrations of the first-ever World Basketball Day.  Established by the United Nations on August 23 during the FIBA World Cup, World Basketball Day will be observed annually on Dec. 21 – the day Dr. James Naismith first introduced the game of basketball at the Springfield YMCA in 1891.

Nearly 600 million people across the globe play basketball annually and basketball is the second most popular sport in the world, while the number one team sport to play in the United States.  Alongside the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), USA Basketball and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the NBA family will honor the game and celebrate World Basketball Day through various programming such as youth clinics and respective social media campaigns – all demonstrating basketball’s societal contributions.

“The NBA family is thrilled to join the global basketball community in celebrating the first World Basketball Day,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.  “More than 130 years after Dr. James Naismith invented the game at the Springfield YMCA, World Basketball Day is a reminder of basketball’s ability to transcend borders, cultures and languages and unite people around the world.”

This year the NBA family will host the following global celebrations in observance of World Basketball Day:


  • United Nations’ World Basketball Day Panel: As part of World Basketball Day, the Philippines will host a panel discussion to share the significance of the day and highlight the impact the game brings to everyone around the world at the United Nations on Dec 21.  Panelists include Professor David Hollander, founder of World Basketball Day; a representative from the Philippine Embassy; John Doleva, Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame President; and Julius Erving, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer.
  • United Nations’ World Basketball Day Diplomats Pick-Up Games: On Dec. 21, friendly games between 30 diplomats from 20 different countries at the Vanderbilt YMCA in New York City.
  • Jr. NBA Clinic: In celebration of World Basketball Day, the Jr. NBA will host a clinic at the Harlem PAL Center, uniting 80 youth participants, ages 6-14, to learn the fundamentals of the game at the Harlem Police Athletic League in New York City.


  • NBA Cares Packing Project: On Dec. 15, as part of the first-ever Republika ng NBA Month, the NBA hosted an NBA Cares packing project at the NBA Community Court presented by TITAN in Mandaluyong City.  NBA staff and partners assembled care packages for high school students from select public schools around the NBA Community Court ahead of World Basketball Day.  Each package included a “Republika ng NBA” t-shirt, a pair of socks and slippers, Gatorade bottle, and vivo-branded backpack and water bottle.
  • NBA Basketball School Virtual Conversation: On Dec. 15, NBA Basketball School, a network of basketball development programs around the world for youth ages 6-18, held a virtual conversation with former WNBA player Mery Andrade and former NBA player Zaza Pachulia, who spoke about how basketball has positively impacted their lives, why they are excited about the inaugural World Basketball Day, and answered questions from the attendees.
  • NBA Egypt Hoops: On Dec. 21 at the Al Sadat School Gharbia in Egypt, NBA Egypt is setting out to provide public schools with the basic infrastructure which would allow students to practice and experience basketball.  This includes installing two basketball hoops, providing three basketballs and doing basic refurbishments in some of the courts where national school competitions take place.

Fans and members of the basketball community can join in the celebration of World Basketball Day by sharing your basketball story on social media using #WorldBasketballDay and tagging the @jrnba & @nbacares social media accounts.