NBA Africa and the Royal Bafokeng Nation, through its sports development arm Royal Bafokeng Sports (RBS), today announced an expansion of their long-term youth development partnership. The expanded partnership will see the 12th year of the Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA Program reach more than 20,000 boys and girls from 44 schools across the Royal Bafokeng Nation and Greater Rustenburg Region in South Africa.
The Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA Program, which launched in 2011 with 36 boys and girls teams from 18 middle and high schools across all five regions of the Royal Bafokeng Nation, has reached more than 100,000 youth over the past 12 years through basketball development and youth engagement initiatives. The program features a youth basketball league for boys and girls in primary and high schools, elite development camps for the top 50 boys and girls in the program, monthly clinics and camps, coaching clinics and certification programs, and basketball court refurbishments.
“Basketball has been much more than a sport among the Bafokeng youth,” said Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi, the 36th king of the Royal Bafokeng Nation. “Through the support of the NBA and RBS, the program has helped develop and inspire top athletes and coaching staffs, create educational opportunities, and grow the sport not only for the RBN community, but across the continent. The RBN welcomes the continued partnership and success with the NBA.” “Launched more than 10 years ago, the Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA Program was the NBA’s first youth development program on the continent,” said NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams. “We are excited to expand our partnership with RBS and look forward to continuing to use the transformative power of basketball to inspire more boys and girls in the North West Province in the years to come.”
The Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA Program is the league’s largest Jr. NBA program in Africa and has achieved a number of milestones since its launch in 2011. More than 120 youth and 15 coaches from the program have represented the North West Province in national tournaments. Six girls and two boys went on to represent South Africa in international tournaments at the youth and senior levels, and two girls and two coaches participated in the Jr. NBA Global Championships in Orlando, Fla., in 2018 and 2019. In addition, more than 100 former participants have gone on to study at universities and colleges in South Africa, with two alumni receiving full scholarships to high schools and universities in the United States.
In August 2017, the program hosted the first Jr. NBA Africa Festival, which featured Jr. NBA teams from Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe competing against one another and participating in life-skills programming in the lead-up to the NBA Africa Game 2017. That same year, the program was recognized with the Development Program of the Year Award at the Sport Industry Awards in South Africa.
The Royal Bafokeng Nation has an ambitious and aggressive strategy over the next few years to place sports, education, and elite sporting academies at the forefront of the Nation’s vision of diversification, sustainability and social cohesion, which the NBA and RBS play a critical role in delivering.
The NBA has a long history in Africa and opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg in 2010. Since then, the league’s efforts on the continent have focused on increasing access to basketball and the NBA through social responsibility, grassroots and elite development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, NBA Africa Games, the launch of the Basketball Africa League (BAL), and more. The BAL’s second season tipped off earlier this month in Dakar, Senegal. South Africa’s Cape Town Tigers will make their BAL debut during the league’s Nile Conference group phase at Hassan Mostafa Indoor Sports Complex in Cairo, Egypt, from April 9-19.
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