The NBA launched its Jr. NBA program in six Asian countries last year to develop the sport throughout the region. (Reuters Photo/Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports)

Junior NBA Returns to Form in Indonesia

MARCH 29, 2015

Jakarta. The Jr. NBA is returning for a second year to Indonesia, with the NBA’s vow to help to develop basketball talent and popularity in the across the archipelago.

The program tipped off on Saturday with a clinic for coaches at Senayan Trade Center, followed by an open clinic on Sunday for children at Cilandak Sport Center, both in South Jakarta.

Jim Wong, senior director of marketing partnerships for NBA Asia, said the league’s global grassroots development program encourages children to lead an active lifestyle — and not just by playing basketball.

“First of all, we encourage the children to be active in sports. So, if you’re active in other sports, such as football or badminton, please continue to do that,” Wong said on Saturday. “The program will encourage children to pick up basketball, because we believe children will play more than one sport. So, we hope through the popularity of our program here that basketball is going to become more popular among Indonesian children.”

The program, which is sponsored by Frisian Flag, will run until August and aims to reach more than 3,000 children in its second year.  Participants are trained in the fundamentals of basketball and learn the importance of the Jr. NBA’s core values of sportsmanship, teamwork, a positive attitude and respect.

Last year’s events drew great interest, which the organizers expect to grow this year, Wong added.

“Looking at the popularity of our program last year, we’re going to exceed last year’s [numbers]. So we’re confident that not only are Indonesian children really excited about basketball, but they’re also excited about the program."

“We have lot of confidence and believe the Jr. NBA program has a long future in Indonesia.”

After the program’s tip-off over the weekend will be a selection camp from Aug. 22-23 for children ages 10-14, at which  64 participants — 40 boys and 24 girls — will be selected to attend the National Training Camp from Aug. 28-30.

At the National Training Camp, the 64 selected players will train under supervision of the Jr. NBA’s head coach; 14 players — 10 boys and four girls — will be selected as the Jr. NBA Indonesia’s All-Stars, and will be sent abroad on a trip for the “NBA Experience.”

The program will also bring in active and retired NBA players as guest trainers. Last year, the program featured multiple NBA champions Horace Grant and A.C. Green.

The NBA launched the program in six Asian countries last year to develop the sport throughout the region.

“We have this as our core program to develop basketball throughout Asia,” Wong said.  “We believe by coming to these markets and offering this type of program — and, of course, with support from our partners, local basketball federations and local government — everyone is aligned to build a program that gives back to the community, and gives children the opportunity to join that which they may never have had the opportunity to do before.”

“It’s going to give children and coaches an opportunity to learn something they may not have learned with the current system. And, ultimately when they learn, they hopefully take their learning and keep it in the system."

“We want to help to grow basketball in the community in Indonesia. We’re going to leave it up to local entity to continue the momentum,” Wong added. “But, the NBA hopefully to give it a kickstart a little bit to build some of that momentum.”

Part of that kickstart has come with the help of sponsor Frisian Flag.

“Good nutrition and active lifestyle are extremly important ... The Jr. NBA is encouraging an active lifestyle ... [and] what they do is to train how to behave and play in a teamwork. Those are important things in our life,” said Marco Spits, president director of Frisian Flag Indonesia.