The joy of playing competitive basketball once again has lit up the Jr. NBA experience for so many participants.
The landmark joint venture between the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) tipped off on March 5. It will pit more than 450 boys and girls aged 11-14 from Abu Dhabi schools against each other until May 21’s Finals.
This follows a lengthy spell where essential COVID-19 regulations disrupted youth leagues across the region. But the action has now moved into a third week at American Community School of Abu Dhabi and Mariam Eissa Al Khameeri, of New Orleans Pelicans/ADNOC Schools, was thrilled to be taking part.
“It’s such a great experience for us, it’s something new and we haven’t played since the pandemic, almost two years ago,” she said after last weekend’s 10-6 defeat to Dallas Mavericks/Al Ain Juniors School.
“It is something new and it doesn’t really matter if we lose or win, it’s just great.”
Winners – across 72 games, including play-offs – will gain the chance to watch October’s ground-breaking live NBA pre-season matches in the UAE capital. Scouts will also select one boy and one girl to experience the basketball education of a lifetime at the NBA’s summer camp in Europe.
One player who has shone already is Ahmad Awariani of Chicago Bulls/Cranleigh School. He gained the Player of the Match-honours when an 18-4 triumph was recorded versus Indiana Pacers/West Yas Academy.
He said: “I have been working so hard for this opportunity. I have been training every day to improve myself and enhance myself more in the Jr. NBA and I actually won the MVP.”
To keep up-to-date with events, head to Instagram and follow the verified @jrnbauae account. There you will find everything you need from match schedules, to results, action pictures and amazing videos showcasing the incredible talents on display.
Use the following hashtags to join the conversation: #JrNBA, #NBAinAbuDhabi and #JrNBALeague.