The lack of programs for promising basketball athletes in Liberia remains one of the major challenges confronting the growth of the sport, and despite the numerous breed of talented athletes in various high schools across the country, only a few, particularly those in Montserrado County, have the opportunity to participate in occasionally held basketball programs.
Additionally, the lack of playing facilities is another contributing factor that has led to the downward trend of the game because the available facilities don’t meet international standards. Notwithstanding, passionate basketball athletes have over the years embraced these challenges and continued to strive for greatness in their career.
Some of these challenges are about to be addressed through the launching of Jr NBA in Liberia by NBA Africa. The Jr. NBA is the United States-based National Basketball Association’s global youth program for boys and girls, that teaches fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at the grassroots level to help improve the youth basketball for players, coaches, and parents.
According to Jr. NBA Liberia, the program will be officially launched on Thursday, April 12 at the former American Cooperative School (ACS) in Sinkor, Old Road, Monrovia. President George Weah and First Lady, Clar Duncan-Weah are expected to attend the program.
This youth program comes after “nearly 3 years of consultations, explorations, and forward discussions with President George Weah and First Lady, Clar M. Duncan-Weah, at the Sports Development Luncheon in Paris, France, hosted by President Emmanuel Macron in March.”
According to a release from the organizers, the program will commit to developing sport-education and youth development programs for both boys and girls between the ages of 6 to 18 years. According to the organizers, it will also host the Jr. NBA League, an inter-scholastic and community basketball league featuring NBA modeled teams from communities and schools.
The league will run throughout the academic year with over 250 games and the organizers added that it will reach approximately 10,000 kids, coaches, and parents over a season.
Not only will they organize the program for teams to participate, they will also renovate existing and iconic outdoor and indoor basketball courts in Monrovia; and build and renovate additional facilities around the country.
“Young people are vital to the security and stability in the world. Preparing them today for a future that we are all connected to – one that we all share, and one that our children – the next generation will share in an even more connected way is no small task. We truly believe in the convening power of sports to create positive and meaningful social change in societies,” the release quoted Jr NBA Liberia.