Four London school teams will converge at the University of East London, January 14 at 3pm, to battle to be crowned the inaugural Jr. NBA Basketball England League Champions. NBA Legend and 18-year NBA veteran Dikembe Mutombo will be on hand for the award ceremony.
Harefield Academy (representing the Portland Trail Blazers) and Platanos Basketball Academy (Dallas Mavericks) from the Western Conference and St. Bonaventure’s RC School (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Evelyn Grace Academy (Miami Heat) from the Eastern Conference are the four teams to have qualified for the semifinals of the league which tipped off last October.
“Good luck to Evelyn Grace Academy representing the Miami Heat in the Jr. NBA Basketball England League semifinals,” said the Miami Heat’s and GB’s Luol Deng. “I know how hard they have all been working so I want to firstly congratulate them on their progress so far. It’s so important we get kids in competitions like this at a young age so I also want to thank the NBA and Basketball England for organising this newly formed league. It will make such a big difference to developing the game of basketball in the UK!"
“I would like to wish the team from Harefield Academy the very best of luck in the semifinals of the Jr. NBA Basketball England League,” said the Portland Trailblazers’ and GB’s Joel Freeland. “As members of the Portland Trailblazers, do your best, work as a team and may the best school win.”
The Jr. NBA Basketball England League began with 30 youth teams across London who played an eight-game season followed by single-elimination playoffs to determine the league champion. Each of the secondary schools represented one of the 30 NBA teams and received corresponding NBA t-shirts for their games.
The four teams will pair off ahead of NBA Global Games London 2015, a NBA regular-season game featuring the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks at The O2 on January 15. The winning team will be hosted at an official dinner with NBA legends before the game.
Huw Morgan, Basketball England CEO said, “We’re delighted with the success the Jnr NBA Basketball England League has seen in its first year and can’t wait for the grand ahead of the NBA Global Games. This exciting new partnership with the NBA has allowed us to promote and share the importance of enjoying team sport from a young age and we’re looking forward to many more successful programmes with the NBA.