NBA, Canada Basketball unite to boost youth outreach

Toronto (Canada) (AFP) –


The NBA and Canada Basketball are joining forces to expand the nation's youth development programs, with Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam among those on a new leadership council.

The league and Canada's national governing body announced the move Monday as the Raptors were set to host Golden State in game five of the NBA Finals needing only one win to capture the first NBA crown by any team outside the United States.

The newly formed Junior NBA Leadership Council will oversee the expanded offerings to help local groups in more than 300 Canadian communities to provide boys and girls ages five to 12 with greater opportunities to play basketball in a nation known for its love of ice hockey.

Among the other members of the leadership council are Canadian national basketball team players Cory Joseph, who plays for the NBA Indiana Pacers, and Kia Nurse, who plays for the Women's NBA New York Liberty.

Also in the group is retired NBA Hall of Fame guard Steve Nash.

The program, with groups in every province and territory, will implement programs developed by the NBA and Canada Basketball including skills development and values such as sportsmanship and teamwork.

Age appropriate changes will include small basketballs and lower hoops for children and modified rules.

Nash's own youth program, developed nationally across Canada in 2007, has annually provided 20,000 children a chance to discover the sport.

"The Junior NBA program showcases the NBA's commitment to positively impact Canadian youth by teaching them the game and its values," NBA Canada managing director Dan MacKenzie said.

"We're excited to partner with Canada Basketball so that more boys and girls can learn the game, maximize their potential and most importantly have fun."