Memphis, Tenn. – The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced the formation of Jr. NBA Court of Leaders, a youth leadership council comprised of 18 15- and 16-year-old basketball players from across the U.S. Launched in conjunction with the sixth annual Jr. NBA Week (April 11-17), Jr. NBA Court of Leaders aims to empower promising young men and women by providing resources to further develop as leaders and a platform to amplify their voices within their communities and across the youth basketball landscape.
Memphis Grizzlies forward/center Jaren Jackson Jr. will co-chair the Jr. NBA Court of Leaders along with Minnesota Lynx’s Napheesa Collier. Both Jackson Jr. and Collier have previously worked with youth athletes and supported the league’s basketball development programming as Jr. NBA ambassadors.
“It’s an awesome thing to see the Jr. NBA providing a platform to reward and empower young athletes who have displayed exceptional passion, leadership and work ethic,” said Jackson Jr. “The basketball space needs more young voices advocating for their peers and the future of the sport, and I look forward to supporting the Jr. NBA Court of Leaders as they create positive change on the court and in their communities.”
Jaren has a significant focus in supporting women’s empowerment initiatives. He is a second year ambassador for Nike’s Game Growers program which is geared towards encouraging 7th and 8th grade girls to increase sports participation in their communities. He was also featured on the TODAY Show in April of last year promoting the Jr. NBA program and providing at-home suggestions to help young players practice at home during quarantine. Locally, Jackson Jr. has also participated in various Grizzlies Youth Basketball programs – including headlining the team’s first-ever All-Girls Summer Basketball Camp in 2019 – and has hosted a Girls Summit and coinciding basketball clinic of his own.
Jr. NBA Court of Leaders members will participate in personal development programming focused on topics including leadership, decision-making, mental wellness and civic engagement, and convene monthly for webinars and workshops featuring guest speakers to broaden their understanding of issues related to social justice, gender equality and career opportunities in the sports industry. The young men and women will also meet with the NBA’s youth basketball development team on a quarterly basis to offer insights on improving the youth basketball experience and enhancing Jr. NBA programs and events to meet young players’ evolving needs. The group will also collaborate on an annual social responsibility project to positively impact their communities.
About the Jr. NBA
The Jr. NBA is the league’s global youth basketball program for boys and girls that teaches the fundamental skills and core values of the game: teamwork, respect, determination and community. The Jr. NBA is focused on helping grow and improve the youth basketball experience at the grassroots level for players, coaches and parents, and offers a free curriculum covering all levels of the game that includes 48 practice plans and more than 250 instructional videos featuring NBA and WNBA players. During the 2019-20 season, the NBA and its teams reached 14.5M youth around the world through in-person events and clinics, before transitioning to virtual programming and online youth basketball development events that generated more than 210M views from youth players and fans in 118 countries. The Jr. NBA Global Championship is an annual youth basketball tournament that brings together top 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls teams from around the world for basketball competition, life skills education and community service programming. For more information visit www.JrNBA.com or download the Jr. NBA app.