NBA expanding rural reach
NBA China is set to roll out a major expansion of its education program as it ups its game in the country’s schools, especially in rural areas.
The American league’s outpost in its largest overseas market on Saturday revealed that its campus-based training courses will expand to 2,000 schools across 15 provinces and municipalities, starting from August. That’s up from 525 schools last term.
The initiative is part of the partnership between NBA China and the Ministry of Education, signed in October 2014, aimed at growing the game at the grassroots level and improving the quality of physical education.
NBA China will kick off the expansion by hosting “Train the Trainer” coaching seminars and basketball clinics for PE teachers on Aug 7, followed by weekly PE classes in September at all the targeted schools, using a tailor-made curriculum jointly devised with the ministry.
Over half-a-million students, mostly from rural areas, took part in the program over the past year.
David Shoemaker, CEO of NBA China, said the game’s huge popularity in China encouraged the league to expand its activities to every corner of the country.
“To put basketballs in the hands of the youth is what matters most,” Shoemaker said from the sidelines of a Jr. NBA training clinic in Beijing on Saturday.
“It allows children to devel- op all kinds of skills as well as teamwork, discipline and the ability to deal with winning or losing.
“It’s a perfect platform for young people across China to get acquainted with the game and learn life lessons.”
In addition, the Jr. NBA China Leadership Council was established in February, featuring a glittering array of current NBA stars including two-time NBA Sportsmanship Award winner Mike Conley of the Memphis Grizzlies, NBA slam-dunk cham- pion Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin.
Shoemaker said the courses and programs ensure the NBA extends its reach to areas which aren’t lucky enough to host the league’s preseason games.
“Such programs have the ability to touch cities beyond where we bring our China games. It’s really important for us to reach out to rural areas,” he said.
As part of the 2017 NBA Global Games tour, the Golden State Warriors will face the Minnesota Timberwolves in Shenzhen on Oct 5 and in Shanghai three days later. It will be the 23rd and 24 th NBA games played in China since 2004.
However, Shoemaker still wants more.
“What makes me most proud is that when we are done with this, we will have hosted 14 teams, almost half of the league, in China. It’s a nice milestone to achieve, and we hope we could invite all 30 teams to China.”
Two-time NBA champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors puts students through their paces at a Jr. NBA basketball clinic in Beijing on Saturday. The superstar guard is on a five-day China trip.
David Shoemaker, CEO of NBA China