David Krichavsky, NBA’s Head of Youth Basketball Development, is expecting a huge response to the annual competition that will take place as a virtual event. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Dubai: The National Basketball Association (NBA) will be conducting its 2020 Jr NBA Global Championship (JNGC) – an annual youth basketball tournament for top under-13 and under-14 boys and girls teams from around the world – as a virtual event this year.

The annual competition was announced on Monday with the aim of bringing together hundreds of youth players from dozens of countries around the world to participate in virtual basketball competitions, life skills development sessions, community service and cross-cultural experiences.

After COVID-19 shut down sports in March, the NBA staff almost immediately began discussing how they could stage the global tournament that highlights the Jr. NBA’s four core values of teamwork, respect, determination, and community.

“We considered all scenarios, but we were determined to find a way to deliver an exciting event while prioritising the health and safety of the Jr. NBA community,” David Krichavsky, NBA’s Head of Youth Basketball Development, said in a statement.

3000 participants

Organisers are expecting nearly 3,000 teenagers participating in the 2020 edition to compete against other young basketball players from around the world, learn lessons in life skills and hold discussions about social justice and other relevant topics.

In the past, the JNGC has been held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. Over the next few months, youth players from Africa, Asia Pacific, Canada, China, Europe, Middle East, India, Mexico, Latin America and the US will compete in virtual basketball competitions against their peers from around the world through Homecourt - a mobile basketball training app that uses advanced machine learning and computer vision to help players advance their game.

Teams from each region will be placed into US and international brackets that will feature single-elimination competitions between two different regions each week. The respective US and international winners will face-off in the global championship next month.

The competitions and events will take place over the next several weeks and will culminate with a Jr. NBA Day of Celebration in Orlando in August as part of the NBA season re-start.

Besides the competition, youngsters will be able to participate in a cross-cultural experience that will allow youngsters from around the world to meet and learn from one another in an interactive and immersive virtual campus. Participants will have the opportunity to create personalised avatars and participate in fun activities and competitions alongside their peers from around the world.

Widely considered to be the premier men’s professional basketball league in the world, the NBA is an American men’s professional basketball league composed of 30 teams and is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the US and Canada.