LDF, Stanbic Bank launch Jr NBA League in South Sudan
The Stanbic Bank and the Luol Deng Foundation launched the first-ever Jr. NBA League, which will debut in the 2024 season.
The event that happened over the weekend also involved the unveiling of a new basketball court at St. Mark’s Orthodox School in Munuki, Juba, to host a Jr. NBA tournament that will feature 12 U-16 teams of boys and girls.
The high-profile launch was attended by Stanbic Bank Chief Executive for Kenya and South Sudan, Dr. Joshua Oigara; NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams; NBA Africa Head of Basketball Operations Franck Traore; Luol Deng Foundation CEO, Arek Deng; and two-time NBA All-Star and the President of South Sudan Basketball Federation, Luol Deng.
“We are excited to work with Stanbic Bank and the Luol Deng Foundation to launch our first Jr. NBA League in South Sudan as part of our continued commitment to making basketball more accessible to the youth of Africa,” Williams said.
According to Williams, South Sudan has a “rich basketball history, with Manut Bol and Luol Deng paving the way for the next generation of South Sudanese players.”
He noted that, “this beautiful new court will serve as a safe space for thousands of boys and girls in Juba to play the game and follow in their footsteps.”
Dr Oigara said that the Stanbic Bank is committed to empowering communities to enable social and economic growth.
“With a solid foundation and a decade-long history operating in South Sudan, Stanbic Bank is committed to empowering our communities to enable social and economic growth,” Oigara said.
Oigara also added that the Bank “has been supporting nation-building, expanding upon the achievements made so far, and investing in concrete initiatives and programs that support all sectors of the country’s economy.”
He further added that they are glad to work with NBA Africa, which is “passionate about driving change and connecting people everywhere through the power of basketball.”
The CEO of the Luol Deng Foundation, Arek Deng, said the launch of the Jr. NBA in Juba will mark a “historic milestone for South Sudan and speaks to the Luol Deng Foundation’s commitment to using the transformative power of basketball to create pathways that encourage more South Sudanese boys and girls to reach their limitless potential.”
“As the first inter-school league in South Sudan, it can become a blueprint for setting up organized and competitive school leagues across the country, while also allowing young players and their coaches to learn from NBA experts and be part of the larger Jr. NBA community,” she said.
“We hope that this initiative inspires more boys and girls to stay active and lead a healthy lifestyle, and we look forward to the league’s tip-off early next year,” she said.
The Jr. NBA teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at the grassroots level to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches, and parents. Jr. NBA programming has directly reached more than 165,000 youth across 18 African countries.