Yesterday (Monday January 9th, 2017) 32 children from Greenhouse Sports basketball programmes at The Norwood School (West Norwood) and Harris Academy (South Norwood) participated in a Jr. NBA Clinic at the Regal Basketball facility in Lambeth alongside former British NBA basketball player John Ameachi OBE and London’s Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement Matthew Ryder. The event occurred ahead of the NBA Global Games London 2017 fixture at the O2 this Thursday which will see the Denver Nuggets face the Indiana Pacers.

The Jr. NBA, the National Basketball Association’s global youth basketball participation program for boys and girls, 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 in the UK.

The participants, who all played in this year’s Jr. NBA Basketball England London League, enjoyed a one hour coaching session focusing on the key fundamentals of basketball as well as getting the chance to speak to Matthew Ryder and John Amaechi, with the former Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz center on hand to sign autographs and answer questions from the children about his NBA career.

For Deputy Mayor Matthew Ryder – himself a former basketball player and keen fan of the sport, the Jr. NBA initiative represents a fantastic opportunity to grow to the sport of basketball in London. He said: “It was fantastic to see young Londoners given the opportunity to play basketball and receive top coaching from a former NBA star in John Amaechi. Basketball has the potential to reach out to Londoners from all backgrounds and encourages our young people into healthy and positive sporting activity.

“I am delighted the NBA is putting on a showcase game in London and both the Mayor and I have been clear that while it is important to attract major events to London, we must harness the power of these events to drive forward grassroots sport participation to improve community cohesion and social integration.”

John Amaechi, was full of praise for the basketball participation programme. He said:
“When sport is done well it can make a huge difference to young people. The great thing about the Jr. NBA programme is it is standardised in terms of what it wants to achieve with basketball coaching, it’s not just about producing the next Michael Jordan. It’s about making sure young people have a tremendous experience playing the sport and want to keep on playing it through their entire life. It’s great to have the support of the Deputy Mayor and the Mayor’s Office. Basketball as a sport has no demographic, anybody can play the game. You definitely don’t have to be tall, it’s all about the size of the passion of the individual and that’s why basketball is such a great sport.”

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