The new season of the national Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA programme in India started in late September in Kerala with ambitions to reach over 1.5 million Indian youth in thousands of schools around the country. As the programme shifted its attention to Mumbai this week, it's incredible reach to young Indian basketball enthusiasts continues to grow. In Mumbai, the 2015-16 Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA programme tipped off on Wednesday, December 9, at the Dominic Savio School in Andheri East.
After a 'Train the Trainers' programme at Goshala Municipal School in Mumbai on December 5, the programme launched in full swing on Wednesday at the Dominic Savio School with 300 participating schools, including 180 Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) schools.
“We are delighted that the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program is expanding to more cities and reaching more children,” said Reliance Foundation Head Jagannata Kumar. “This programme has used the sport of basketball to greatly impact the lives of Indian children. We are grateful to the NBA for sharing their world-class expertise and resources, and to the schools, coaches and physical education instructors who continue to support this initiative.”
“The Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA programme continues our goal of providing Indian youth with a platform to stay active and learn the values of basketball, including leadership, teamwork, and healthy living,” said NBA India Vice President & Managing Director Yannick Colaco. “On the heels of Sim Bhullar becoming the first player of Indian descent to play in the NBA and Satnam Singh becoming the first Indian-born player to be drafted into the NBA, children in India are as excited as ever about trying the game, and the growth of our program will ensure we get basketballs in the hands of even more boys and girls across the country.”
The programme, which remains free for participants, will include a train the trainer initiative for local coaches, in-school basketball clinics, elite training camps and finals in each city featuring 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 competitions. NBA International Basketball Operations staff will be based in each of the cities for three months to oversee the program. Each participating school will receive essential equipment to encourage and facilitate participation among its students, including an India-specific coaching guide with curricula for in-school and after-school programs, basketballs, cones, and a Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA poster. In addition, each participating city will host three youth oriented basketball festivals featuring mini hoops for kids aged 6-10.
More than 1 million youth in over 1,000 schools across nine cities have participated in the program since its launch in 2013. In addition, more than 15,000 basketballs and 300 basketball rims have been distributed and installed through the program, and NBA International Basketball Operations staff has trained more than 2,000 physical education teachers across the country.