[China/US], Oct. 14 (ANI): The National Basketball Association (NBA) on Friday announced the launch of NBA Academies, the NBA's international elite development initiative that will consist of a network of elite 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 this month as part of multiyear partnerships announced today 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 today in Beijing by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who was joined by Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) 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 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.
In November 2015, NBA China, the Beijing Municipal Education Commission and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports announced the launch of the first Jr. NBA Basketball League in China.
In October 2014, the NBA and the Ministry of Education of China announced a comprehensive multiyear partnership to incorporate a fitness and basketball development curriculum in elementary, middle and high schools across China.
In February 2014, NBA China and Yao Ming launched the first ever after-school basketball program in Beijing, providing basketball training and fitness programs for boys and girls at all skill levels. In November 2011, NBA China and Dongguan New Century launched the CBA Dongguan Basketball School for players ages 12-17. (ANI)