The NBA and Basketball Australia (BA) announced the official opening of the NBA Global Academy in Canberra, at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).
The NBA Global Academy is intended to function as the NBA's hub for non-US basketball talent. At the same time, the first-ever NBA Academy Games are set to roll when 30 June arrives.
The exhibition games will include prospects from various NBA international institutes, including players from NBA Academies in Africa/China/India, as well as BA's own Center of Excellence (CoE).
“Basketball Australia is delighted to partner in this venture, which will enable our world-class coaches and athletes to share their knowledge with the NBA,” said Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Moore. “Our Centre of Excellence has an incredible track record of producing athletes who can compete on the international stage. We are honoured to be hosting NBA Global Academy and helping to develop promising young talent from around the world.”
Why the AIS?
"It's basically the NBA's Centre of Excellence," NBA Vice President, International Basketball Operations & Head of Elite Basketball, Brooks Meek commented, when asked about the NBA's choice of location.
"It's [a] proven concept. You think about it, all of the NBA players that have come through the CoE, it's a concept that works. And we want to emulate it for the NBA."
Meeks was also very complimentary on the level of sport-related technology that was being used in the AIS, calling it "phenomenal" and "the best in the world".
When asked about whether the success of our Australians in the NBA contributed to the decision, Meeks elaborated on the AIS itself being a notable success, more than anything else.
"It's not necessarily the success of the players, it's the success of the process.
"What we looked at --and we studied all over the world-- is, what is the training process that results in the success of a player... what we looked at was, in baseball, football, basketball, all over the world, what was the process that results in success?
"And we saw the AIS had success."
Australian representation in the NBA Global Academy
Despite the range of participating countries in the NBA Global Academy, Meeks pointed out that Australians can and will be part of the scholarship holders.
"Part of our agreement with the CoE is that four of the players that are going to be part of the Global Academy, will be Australian... four scholarships will be Australian."
Outside of exhibition games between the NBA academies and local teams, the NBA Academy Games also features prospects being led through various activities, including movement efficiency, positional skill development, and daily life skills seminars that will focus on health, leadership and communication.
NBA Global Academy will employ a holistic, 360-degree approach to player development with focuses on education, leadership, character development and life skills. As part of the program, the students will compete against top competition throughout the year and will have an opportunity to be selected for travel teams that play in international tournaments and exhibition games.
The official opening of NBA Global Academy follows the launch of academies in Hangzhou, Jinan and Urumqi, China; Thies, Senegal; and Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), India. This initiative gives elite prospects exposure to NBA-level coaching, facilities and competition and provides a framework for prospects to succeed.