Raja Bell, Josh Howard and Scott Layden to Recognize Junior Jazz Sportsmanship Initiative Winners
SALT LAKE CITY (March 16, 2012) – The sixth annual Junior Jazz Sportsmanship Party, featuring Jazz players Raja Bell, Josh Howard and assistant coach Scott Layden will take place at EnergySolutions Arena on Monday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. Designed to honor Junior Jazz participants who have best exemplified the Junior Jazz Sportsmanship Initiative, the party is open to all Junior Jazz participants, their parents and coaches. This year’s event will also feature a celebrity basketball game comprised of current and former professional athletes from the NBA and NFL as well as local TV personalities.
The two celebrity teams will be coached by Bell and Howard and will include such notables as former Jazzman Thurl Bailey and NFL players Kevin Curtis and Harvey Unga. Tip-off for the game is set for 7:15 p.m, after which the teams will play four eight-minute quarters.
Other entertainment during the event will include the Nu Skin Jazz dancers and the Jazz Bear.
The Junior Jazz Sportsmanship Initiative was launched in 2005 and is designed to emphasize the importance of sportsmanship to the 55,000 youth participating in Junior Jazz leagues in Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Wyoming.
Following each Junior Jazz game throughout the season, each basketball team receives a sportsmanship score from the scorekeepers and referees based on behavior of players, coaches and parents. The team from each age group with the highest cumulative score at the end of the season wins the sportsmanship award.
About Junior Jazz
Junior Jazz, the longest-running youth basketball league in the NBA, has been shaping the face of local amateur sports for the past 28 years. Beginning with only 7,133 participants in its initial year, the popular program has grown to the largest in the NBA with 55,000 players and an additional 13,000 volunteers who take part each year. Kindergartners through 12th-graders are eligible to participate, and individual programs are managed through recreation centers in Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Wyoming. Junior Jazz programs promote sportsmanship, fundamental athletic development and having fun.
Each Jazz player participates in one-to-two Junior Jazz clinics per year, visiting both local and outlying districts, where they speak to youth and conduct a total of 15 basketball clinics along the Wasatch Front each season.
Notable alumni of the Junior Jazz leagues include current NFL players Kevin Curtis and Brady Poppinga, former Brigham Young University and NBA players Shawn Bradley and Travis Hansen, ex-University of Utah star and NFL player Kevin Dyson, American Idol finalist David Archuletta and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter DaMarques Johnson.