TORONTO, June 10, 2019 – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Canada Basketball today announced the formation of the Jr. NBA Canadian Leadership Council, which will help drive the growth of youth basketball in Canada by providing direction on Jr. NBA Youth Basketball’s programming and development.
The NBA and Canada Basketball also today announced a multiyear partnership to merge and expand their existing youth basketball development programs – the Jr. NBA Rookie Division and Steve Nash Youth Basketball – to create Jr. NBA Youth Basketball. Jr. NBA Youth Basketball aims to empower local organizations in more than 300 communities across Canada to provide boys and girls ages 5 – 12 with more opportunities to play the game.
Jr. NBA Canadian Leadership Council members include:
- Nav Bhatia, Superfan
- Martha Bradbury (Manitoba), Representative, Canadian Basketball Officials Commission
- Peter Dinsdale, President and CEO, YMCA Canada
- David Goldstein, Chief Operating Officer, U Sports
- Cory Joseph, Player, Indiana Pacers and Canadian Senior Men’s National Team
- Steve Konchalski, Former Head Coach, Canadian Senior Men’s National Team (1995-1998)
- Michael Linklater, Representative and Athlete, Indigenous Sport Community and FIBA 3x3
- Allison McNeill, Former Head Coach, Canadian Senior Women’s National Team (2002-2012)
- Lori Munro-Sigfridson, President, PHE Canada
- Lizanne Murphy, Olympian & Canadian Senior Women’s National Team Member (2012)
- Steve Nash, Eight-time NBA All-Star and Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Member
- Kia Nurse, Player, New York Liberty and Canadian Senior Women’s National Team
- Michele O'Keefe, FIBA Central Board Member and Associate Director, Niagara College Athletics & Recreation
- Pete Quevillon, Director, KidSport BC
- Teresa Resch, Vice-President, Basketball Operations & Player Development, Toronto Raptors
- Pascal Siakam, Player, Toronto Raptors
- Wayne Yearwood, Olympian & Canadian Senior Men’s National Team Member (2000)
Eight-time NBA All-Star and 2018 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Steve Nash will continue his involvement with youth basketball development in Canada by joining the Jr. NBA Canadian Leadership Council. The Raptors will support Jr. NBA Youth Basketball throughout Ontario.
Each of the more than 300 participating community organizations across all provinces and two territories will implement a basketball development curriculum jointly developed by Canada Basketball and the NBA that reflects the Long-Term Athlete Development Framework (LTAD) and Canadian style of play. The program will also provide age-appropriate skill development with equipment in a fun and active learning environment. Participants will learn fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game, including teamwork, respect, sportsmanship and leadership.
In 2014, the NBA launched the Jr. NBA Rookie Division for boys and girls ages 5-7 at 50 clubs across Canada. Since 2014, the Jr. NBA Rookie Division expanded to nearly 250 clubs across every Canadian province, providing age-appropriate curriculums and equipment, including smaller basketballs, lowered hoops (from 4’5” to 6’5” in height), and modified games.
Steve Nash Youth Basketball (SNYB), Canada Basketball’s flagship youth basketball development program, was first established in British Columbia through the leadership of Basketball BC with support from the Steve Nash Foundation, and launched nationally in 2007. SNYB was designed to develop fundamental skills, sportsmanship and a love of the game of basketball. The program was centered around LTAD principles and philosophies of age- and stage-appropriate training and qualified coaching. For over 10 years, Steve Nash Youth Basketball annually provided over 20,000 youth ages 8-12 across the country with opportunities to play basketball and an entry to the Canada Basketball development pathway, encouraging athletes to pursue high performance opportunities.
Today's announcement builds on the NBA's relationship with Canada Basketball which includes the Jr. NBA Global Championship, a first-of-its-kind youth basketball tournament for the top 13- to 14-year old boys and girls teams from around the world. The inaugural tournament was held in August 2018 in Orlando, Florida. The Welland Warriors (girls) and Brampton’s Team Breakdown (boys) won the Jr. NBA Global Championship Canada Regional Finals and advanced to the Jr. NBA Global Championship. The second Jr. NBA Global Championship will be held Aug. 6-11 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World near Orlando. More information about the Jr. NBA Global Championship can be found at jrnba.ca
NBA Canada Managing Director Dan MacKenzie:
“The Jr. NBA program showcases the NBA’s commitment to positively impact Canadian youth by teaching them the game and its values, including teamwork, respect, sportsmanship and leadership. We’re excited to partner with Canada Basketball so that more boys and girls can learn the game, maximize their potential and most importantly have fun.”
Canada Basketball President and Chief Executive Officer Glen Grunwald:
“This is great news for children and families across Canada to be able to participate in a fun, safe, and age appropriate introductory basketball program. We are proud to join forces with the NBA and our Provincial/Territorial Sport Organization partners as we all continue to work together to grow the game of basketball. Our hope is that the Jr. NBA Youth Basketball program will help create a lifetime love of our sport and foster a healthy active lifestyle.”
Jr. NBA Canadian Leadership Council Member Steve Nash:
“As this program continues to expand and evolve, youth across Canada will benefit from the shared leadership and expertise of Canada Basketball and the NBA. This investment in basketball development on a national level will ensure even more youth have access to age-appropriate instruction, while fostering life-skills and core values including teamwork and respect.”
Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri:
“As Canada’s NBA team, we’re proud to support Canada’s kids as they take the first steps on their own basketball journeys. I believe passionately that sport can help youth reach their goals – whether it’s on a basketball court, in their chosen profession, or as a person and citizen. Personally, basketball has given me so much, and I can’t wait to see what these young people will accomplish with the backing of Jr. NBA Youth Basketball and Canada Basketball.”
About the NBA
The NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League. The NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 100,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents. NBA rosters at the start of the 2018-19 season featured 108 international players from 42 countries and territories. 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 1.6 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 Canada Basketball
Canada Basketball is the National Sporting Organization for the sport of Basketball in Canada. Canada Basketball is respected worldwide and is recognized by the International Amateur Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Government of Canada as the sole governing body of the sport of amateur basketball in Canada. Canada Basketball, a not-for-profit organization, represents all basketball interests, provides leadership, coordination and direction in all areas of the sport of basketball.