The stars of today’s NBA and WNBA were once the stars of the future. Each player took his or her own unique path to elite status, but each one will tell you that talent is just part of the recipe. Most professional players went through their childhood with countless hours of training and practice and plenty of support.
These days, as technology and social media continue to take up a larger part of children’s lives, it is imperative to find new ways to connect with kids and provide support and access to training. Trying to peel kids away from making TikTok videos may seem like a daunting task, but the allure of getting tailored content from their heroes could maybe do the trick.
The Jr. NBA, the league’s global youth basketball program for boys and girls that teaches the fundamental skills and core values of the game such as teamwork, respect, determination and community, has taken steps to give children access to learning tools from some of the NBA and WNBA’s brightest stars. The global pandemic certainly was a trying time for many, but it allowed a light to be shined on deficiencies found in some communities regarding access to resources.
The Jr. NBA launched a remote learning curriculum that was developed during the 2019-20 season that garnered 210M views, providing youth players and fans in 118 countries ways to learn the game during pandemic. NBA Senior Vice President, Head of Youth Development David Krichavsky reflected on how things have changed.
“The pandemic gave us an increased recognition that access to our sport wasn’t equal across communities, and it forced us to redouble our efforts to make sure that all people, all communities have access to the game of basketball.”
The program’s success has to led to a hybrid strategy where kids will have access to loads of content on the Jr. NBA’s website as well as new in-person events and initiatives. The virtual resources also expand to Jr. NBA’s social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), providing an interactive experience where kids can enjoy learning in a community atmosphere.