BEIJING – (From official news release) – The National Basketball Association announced the launch of NBA Academies, an elite development initiative that will consist of a network of training centers around the world to develop top international male and female prospects. The new initiative, which includes educational development for the prospects, marks the league’s most significant investment in elite player development.
The first elite training centers will launch in China as part of multiyear partnerships with the Shandong Provincial Basketball Management Center in Jinan, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Basketball Management Center in Urumqi, and the Zhejiang Provincial Sports Vocational Technical Institute in Hangzhou.
The announcement was made in Beijing by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who was joined by Chinese Basketball Association Vice President Li Jinsheng, Shandong Provincial Basketball Management Center Director Yang Gang, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Basketball Management Center Director Nie Chun, and Zhejiang Provincial Sports Vocational Technical Institute Principal Zhang Yadong, prior to the New Orleans Pelicans taking on the Houston Rockets as part of NBA Global Games China 2016 presented by Master Kong. The NBA will announce additional elite training centers in the coming months.
“NBA Academies are the logical next step in the league’s global grassroots basketball activities but are much more narrowly focused on helping elite-level junior players reach their full potential,” said Silver. “Top international prospects will benefit from a complete approach to player development that combines NBA-quality coaching, training and competition with academics and personal development.”
NBA Academies will support existing international basketball academies by exposing elite prospects to NBA-level coaching, facilities and competition and by providing a global framework for elite-level prospects to maximize their success. The initiative will employ a holistic, 360-degree approach to player development with focuses on education, leadership, character development and life skills. The initiative builds on the NBA’s existing grassroots programming, including Jr. NBA and NBA 3X, which engaged more than 12 million youth during the 2015-16 season.
Each elite training center will be staffed with NBA-trained coaches to foster the development of prospects on and off the court, both during and after their basketball careers. Each center will house under-16 and under-18 teams that will compete against top competition throughout the year. The top students at each center will have an opportunity to be selected for travel teams that will play in international tournaments and exhibition games. NBA Academies will also aim to foster the development of local basketball support staff.
The NBA’s partnerships with the Shandong Provincial Basketball Management Center, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Basketball Management Center, and the Zhejiang Provincial Sports Vocational Technical Institute build on the NBA’s existing basketball and youth development initiatives in China. I