The transformative power of basketball and the NBA’s mission to internationalize the sport and use it as a tool to boost third-world communities is on full display in the league’s new multi-year partnership.
The OCP Group (OCP) a world-leader in the phosphate industry, and the NBA have joined together on a mission to expand Jr. NBA programs, teach life skills and build new basketball courts in Khouribga and Benguerir, Morocco and in the Rwandan capital of Kigali while using the healing of hoops to empower Moroccan and Rwandan youth and their communities.
Ever since Obama teamed up with the NBA to launch the 12-team Pan-African Pro Basketball League, and African players like Joel Embiid and 2019 NBA World Champion Pascal Siakam rose to immortality, the continent of Africa has become committed to developing more stars.
The announcement was made on Sunday during the opening ceremony on the newly built basketball court at Ennahda in Khouribga, Morocco in the presence of OCP Chairman and CEO, Mostafa Terrab; NBA Africa Managing Director and Basketball Africa League President, Amadou Gallo Fall; and 10-time NBA All-Star, Ray Allen.
— NBA Africa (@NBA_Africa) September 10, 2019
The Jr. NBA Benguerir League will launch at Salle Omnisport in Benguerir on Sep. 10. Allen is launching events in Khouribga and Benguerir, Morocco and the Jr. NBA Kigali League will tip-off at Integrated Polytechnic Regional Center in Kigali, Rwanda on Sep. 21.
“The partnership with the NBA is part of the Act4Community initiative, carried out by OCP volunteers, with one of its major objectives being development through sport,” said Terrab. “The young people here are full of talent and energy and the goal of this project is to provide them with a framework where they can develop their potential through a spirit of sports excellence and coaching focused on leadership and personal development. We are very happy to be launching this great project with the NBA in Khouribga and Benguerir”.
Yesterday, the official launch of the NBA Jr. League took place in #Khouribga. And guess what?! We are also launching it in #Benguerir! Stay tuned as we get you through this day, full of entertainment and surprises! @NBA_Africa #OCPJrNBA #Act4Community #Act4Sports pic.twitter.com/UUz0M15HYm
— OCP (@ocpgroup) September 10, 2019
“We are thrilled to partner with OCP Group to expand our Jr. NBA programming in Morocco and Rwanda,” said Fall in a press release. “As we continue to push the boundaries of accessibility to our game, this authentic partnership will contribute tremendously to inspire more boys and girls to play the game of basketball and grow with its core values while also empowering coaches and program administrators as role models for the youth in their communities.”
Supporting the development of the African continent is one of OCP Group’s strategic priorities. To this end, OCP is striving to develop a sustainable agricultural ecosystem and provide innovative solutions for African farmers.
OCP employees have successfully implemented a number of initiatives at the regional and local levels in the economic, environmental, health and educational fields. Consequently, OCP’s investment in the Jr. NBA supports its efforts to develop local communities and African populations.
Right now there are 13 African born players in the NBA and no Moroccan players. The goal is to change that.
« Right now there are 13 African born players in the NBA and no Moroccan players. Our purpose here in Morocco is to change that ! […] The sky is the limit, we are here to foster your dreams ! » Ray Allen, 10-time #NBA All-Star #OCPJrNBA pic.twitter.com/NPeb86wNXn
— OCP (@ocpgroup) September 10, 2019
The Jr. NBA programs in both countries will feature 30 boys and 30 girls school teams competing for their respective leagues’ championship. Each school team will represent one of the 30 NBA teams in each league and will receive corresponding NBA team-branded jerseys for their games.
The Jr. NBA teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at the grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents. This year, the NBA is reaching more than 51 million youth in 75 countries through league play, in-school programming, clinics, skills challenges, and other outreach events.
U.S. regions took home the titles in the 2019 Jr. NBA Global Championship.
— USA TODAY HSS (@usatodayhss) August 12, 2019
In the second edition of the Jr. NBA Global Championship hosted in Orlando, Florida last month, the Africa boys team won the international division to advance to the global championship game where they lost to the U.S. West boys team and finished as the tournament runner-up.
Marouf Moumine (Cameroon) was recognized with the tournament’s Determination Award for the second consecutive year.
Marouf Moumine ended up making headlines in 2018 after the inaugural Jr. NBA Global Championship. Then just 13 years old, he recorded a 28-point, 21-rebound, 12-assist triple-double in the international finals and got some support with @DwyaneWade.https://t.co/zd4WfOHGzV
— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) August 19, 2019
The expansion of the Jr. NBA Leagues in Morocco and Rwanda builds on the NBA and OCP’s commitment to the development of the African continent. Similar Jr. NBA programs have taken place in Angola, Cameroon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.