The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), in partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA), has launched the expanded third season of the Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League, which aims to reach more than 1,300 youth ages 11-14 from schools across Abu Dhabi, and for the first time, Al Ain. The Jr. NBA programming has reached more than 10,000 youth in Abu Dhabi since 2022. The Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League games will take place from 5 February to 5 May 2024.
The announcement was made at a Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League draft event at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus by DCT Abu Dhabi. At the event, each school was assigned an NBA team, received corresponding NBA team-branded jerseys for games, and participated in basketball development clinics, skills challenges, and competitions.
His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “Youth empowerment and community development is at the heart of DCT Abu Dhabi’s vision, in service of building a brighter and more prosperous future for the emirate. Our multiyear partnership and collaboration with NBA to bring this transformative programme to Abu Dhabi’s young talents demonstrates our commitment to developing the next generation of players in the UAE and beyond. As we expand the Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League to Al Ain and reach even more children across the emirate, we further solidify the emirate’s position as a global hub for sporting activities and athletic programmes.”
Neal Meyer, NBA Europe and Middle East Vice President of Basketball Operations, said: “We’re excited to continue growing the Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League as part of our commitment to providing youth with more opportunities to learn and play the game. We look forward to welcoming youth from Al Ain for the first time and to teaching important values like teamwork, leadership and respect that will help these aspiring players succeed on the court and in life.”
James Worthy, NBA Veteran, said: “It was inspiring to be on court today and to see the enthusiasm and passion on display from the boys and girls participating in the Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League. The game has given me so many incredible memories and experiences, and I wish these young players the same as they pursue their dreams.”
The Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League aims to teach the values of the game and encourage youth to lead an active and healthy lifestyle through participation in sport. Last season, the Jr. NBA collectively reached nearly 50,000 youth in 34 countries across Europe and the Middle East. The Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League, which is supported by ADQ, Aldar and DCT Abu Dhabi, is part of a multiyear collaboration between DCT Abu Dhabi and the NBA that also features preseason NBA Global Games, a variety of interactive fan events featuring appearances by current and former NBA players.