NBA Africa and Royal Bafokeng Nation expand youth development partnership

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NBA Africa and Royal Bafokeng Nation, through its sports development arm Royal Bafokeng Sports (RBS), on Thursday announced the expansion of their long-term youth development partnership.

The partnership will see the 12th year of the Royal Bafokeng Junior NBA program reach over 20,000 boys and girls from 44 schools across the Royal Bafokeng Nation and Greater Rustenburg region.

Through its basketball development and youth engagement initiatives, the Royal Bafokeng Junior NBA program, launched in 2011 with 36 boys’ and girls’ teams, has reached more than 100,000 young people.

The program includes a basketball league for elementary and secondary school boys and girls, elite development camps for the top 50 boys and girls in the program, monthly clinics and camps, practice clinics and certification programs, as well as basketball court renovations.

“Basketball has been much more than a sport among Bafokeng youth,” said Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi, 36and king of the royal Bafokeng nation.

“With support from the NBA and RBS, the program has helped develop and inspire top athletes and coaching staff, create educational opportunities, and grow the sport not just for RBN. [Royal Bafokeng nation] community, but across the continent. The RBN welcomes the continued partnership and success with the NBA.

NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams said the Royal Bafokeng Junior NBA program, which was launched 10 years ago, was the first NBA youth development program on the continent.

“We are delighted 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,” said Williams.

The program is the largest junior NBA league program in Africa and has achieved a number of milestones since its launch in 2011. More than 120 youths and 15 coaches from the program have represented the North West in national tournaments.

Six girls and two boys went on to represent South Africa in international tournaments at junior and senior level, and two girls and two coaches participated in the NBA World Junior Championships in Orlando, Florida, USA, 2018 and 2019.

In addition, over 100 alumni have gone on to study at universities and colleges in South Africa, with two alumni receiving full scholarships at high schools and universities in the United States.

In August 2017, the program hosted the inaugural Junior NBA Africa Festival, which brought together junior NBA teams from Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe to compete and participate in programs of life skills in preparation for the NBA Africa Game 2017.

That same year, the program was honored with the Development Program of the Year award at the Sport Industry Awards in South Africa. The NBA has a long history in Africa. It opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg in 2010.

Since then, the league’s efforts on the continent have focused on improving access to basketball and the NBA through social responsibility, grassroots and elite football development, the NBA Africa Games and the launch of the Basketball Africa League (BAL).

South Africa’s Cape Town Tigers will make their BAL debut in the league’s Nile Conference group stage at the Hassan Mostafa Indoor Sports Complex in Cairo, Egypt from April 9-19.

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