NEW YORK, June 11 -- The NBA and New Jersey Nets opened a newly finished Reading and Learning Center at the West Side Boys & Girls Club of Newark Tuesday in New Jersey. On-hand to help open the Reading and Learning Center and conduct a special reading event with the young boys and girls of the club were NBA Commissioner David Stern and New Jersey Governor James McGreevey.

They were joined by NBA Hall of Famers Bob Lanier, Nate "Tiny" Archibald, Willis Reed and Bill Walton, celebrities such as Bobby Canavale, Leon and Tyson Beckford, the wives, mothers and fathers of several NBA players and Nets players Brian Scalabrine and Brandon Armstrong.

As part of the NBA’s Read to Achieve Program, the NBA teamed with the Nets, Scholastic and Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.® (RIF) to complete the Reading and Learning Center. The Center will provide the community with thousands of books, resource guides and reference materials. Last week during the NBA Finals, the NBA and Lakers opened a Reading and Learning center at the Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood.

"This has been a tremendous season on-and off-the-court," said NBA Vice President Community Relations Kathy Behrens. "The support that the Read to Achieve program has received from the players, retired players and the entire NBA Family has helped to bring the joy of reading to thousands of children throughout North America."

The West Side Boys & Girls Club of Newark Reading and Learning Center is the latest created by the NBA’s Read to Achieve program. In its first full season, Read to Achieve has provided access to reading materials and technology to children throughout North America. This season, the NBA and its teams have established more than 30 Reading and Learning and donated more than 350,000 books to children, schools and community organizations. In addition, NBA players, coaches and other members of the NBA family have read to more than 250,000 children.

"The children here couldn’t be more excited," said Cynthia Banks, Club Director, West Side Boys & Girls Club. "They are excited not only to have the resources provided by the NBA and the Nets, but also by the fact that all of these people have taken the time to share their joy of reading. This will benefit the children here for years to come."

The NBA’s Read to Achieve program is a year-round campaign to help young people develop a life-long love for reading and encourage adults to read regularly to children. Reaching an estimated 50 million children a year, Read to Achieve is the most extensive educational outreach initiative in the history of professional sports. In addition to being supported by all 29 NBA teams, 16 WNBA teams, the eight teams that make up the NBA's new minor league, the National Basketball Development League (NBDL), Read to Achieve is supported by the NBA's officials, parents and wives of players organizations, and the NBA Players Association and Retired Players Association.