The second edition of the Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League has announced an expanded second season.
The league, which is a collaboration between the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, and the National Basketball Association (NBA), has been expanded from 30 teams in its inaugural season last year to 60 teams for the upcoming season. The competition features both a boys and girls league, each comprised of 450 players aged between 11 to 14 from schools across the city.
In keeping with NBA tradition, the program began with a draft event on Saturday at NYU Abu Dhabi. The 60 teams, made up of 30 boys teams and 30 girls teams, were assigned for the upcoming season and received NBA team-branded jerseys. The players present at the draft also participated in basketball development clinics, skills challenges, and contests, with NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady in attendance.
“Abu Dhabi is contributing to the growth of global youth basketball as we inspire our youth to get active and enrich their lives with respect, teamwork and values of the game,” said HE Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi. “It is a joy to witness grassroots passion and excitement among our youth players that can only fuel more interest in sports and pave the way for a new generation of home-grown sporting talent, inspired by the Jr. NBA and the many sports initiatives across Abu Dhabi.”
Contestants were able to chat and interact with seven-time NBA All-Star McGrady. “It was so much fun to engage with the youth teams taking part in the second Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League and with their excitement for the upcoming season,” McGrady said after spending time with the contestants and interacting with the youth. “Basketball is a global sport that transcends countries and cultures, and I’m thankful to have played a role in helping grow the game here in Abu Dhabi,” he said.
The Jr NBA is the league’s grassroots program for boys and girls and teaches the fundamental skills and core values of the game – teamwork, respect, determination, and community. The program aims to grow and improve youth basketball on a global scale and provide a pathway for kids all over the world to live their dreams. The Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League hopes that the league will promote a healthy lifestyle through participation in sports, leading to a healthy and fit future.
The upcoming season will see the Jr. NBA run 111 leagues in Europe and the Middle East that, together, will reach close to 50,000 youths in 28 countries.
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