The NBA and Gatorade are partnering for the Jr. NBA World Championship, a first-of-its kind global youth basketball tournament for the top 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls teams from around the world. The inaugural event will take place at the state-of-the-art ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla. from Aug. 7-12.
The road to the Jr. NBA World Championship is underway as six of the eight U.S. regional tournaments are complete, which means 12 of the 16 U.S. teams that will compete at the world championship event in Orlando are set. The last two regional tournaments – the Northeast Regional in Ardsley, N.Y. and the Northwest Regional in Salem, Ore. – will take place this weekend (June 29 – July 1) to determine the remaining U.S.-based boys and girls teams that will receive an all-expenses-paid-trip to compete in Orlando against the top eight boys and eight girls teams from around the world.
As part of the partnership, Gatorade will be along every step of the way – from the eight regional tournaments around the country to the culminating event in August.
In Orlando, Gatorade will support the event’s off-court programming, including Gatorade Sports Science Institute athlete testing as well as heat safety and hydration sessions with professional athlete speakers, in addition to having a variety of products for the participants to use and signage at each regional competition as well as the global event.
While the Jr. NBA World Championship will feature great competition on the court, the mission behind the youth basketball event goes beyond that. The regional competitions to-date have featured life skills sessions led by current and former NBA and WNBA players including, Spencer Dinwiddie, Cherokee Parks, Sam Perkins, Derrick Coleman, Tamika Catchings and Alvin Williams. The remaining regional tournaments will feature similar activities to educate the youth both on and off the court.
In addition to promoting the core values of the game – Teamwork, Respect, Determination and Community – the Jr. NBA World Championship also aligns with the NBA and USA Basketball Youth Guidelines that aim to improve the way children, parents and coaches experience the game. This includes an emphasis on promoting player health and wellness and age-appropriate rules and standards.
The NBA’s relationship with Gatorade dates back to 1984 when it became the league’s official sports drink partner. Gatorade is also an official partner of the WNBA and the entitlement partner of the NBA G League. Having the NBA’s longest-standing partner come aboard for its new global youth basketball tournament is fitting as both the league and Gatorade look toward setting a new standard in youth sports.