In the coming weeks, the NBA is expected to announce the launch of the Jr. NBA World Championship, a new youth basketball tournament that, by the sound of it, appears to be the NBA’s answer to the Little League World Series. According to the Washington Post, the first-ever Jr. NBA World Championship will take place the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex inside Disney World from August 7-12. The tournament will reportedly feature the best boys and girls teams ages 14 and under and will be open to players from around the world.
Given the fact that the NBA has not even officially announced the tournament yet, there’s obviously a lot we do not know about the JR. NBA World Championship. But it does appear that the league is looking to the LLWS for inspiration. Similar to the LLWS, The tournament is expected to allow 16 teams will qualify from different parts of the United States and from eight international regions, including India, China, and Europe.
“I think what we were really focused on was developing a new model for this kind of basketball event,” Kathy Behrens, the NBA’s president of social responsibility and player programs, said in an interview with the Washington Post last week. “As you know, we worked together with USA Basketball over the course of the last 18 months to develop a set of standards and guidelines for youth basketball, and so this tournament, I think, represents in a way that nothing else that we’ve done before does.”
Since its creation in 1947, the Little League World Series has become an iconic staple in the world of sports. Regular kids are suddenly given the chance to become heroes in front of the entire world. Each year, the tournament is packed with jaw-dropping home runs, superhuman catches, and inspiring displays of camaraderie and sportsmanship that remind us all why we fell in love with baseball in the first place. Until now, no other sport has had a youth tournament like it but it appears that the NBA has created the Jr. NBA World Championship to give a similar platform for kids to show off their skills on the court.