NBA ex­pand­ing ru­ral reach

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By SUN XIAOCHEN

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.”

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY AND YIN DI / FOR CHINA DAILY

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

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