The first in a 3-part series introducing you to the NCAA & NBA’s collaborative effort to unify, structure and organize Youth Basketball… iHoops.
Portions of this series were developed from Rick Leddy’s NABC News report on iHoops.
iHoops is NOT an app for your iPhone and iPod Touch. iHoops is NOT a DSS game. iHoops IS an NCAA/NBA Youth Basketball Initiative established to take on the daunting task of restructuring Youth Basketball.
Over the course of these three reports we will look at why iHoops is needed, what iHoops will do and the long range plans for iHoops.
Kevin Weiberg, iHoops CEO, and Duke University men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski announced the inception at a press conference prior to Game 3 of The Finals in Orlando. Nike and Adidas will serve as founding partners for the initiative, and Adidas Vice President of Global Basketball Lawrence Norman and Nike Vice President of Global Sports Marketing John Slusher were on hand to participate in the announcement.
The “name-dropping” is important to note… heavy hitters, personal and corporate show this is a serious venture being embarked on by two of the biggest powers in basketball… Myles Brand of the NCAA and David Stern of the NBA. Also, how many things have you seen Nike and Adidas do together? This is a BIG deal. Needed and long overdue.
The iHoops Board consists of Krzyzewski, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball and Business Strategies Greg Shaheen, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President of Social Responsibility & Player Programs Kathy Behrens, and attorney and college basketball television analyst Len Elmore. Did I already say…this is a BIG deal.
iHoops, or something like it, has been a long time coming. The Youth Basketball world is vital to the continued growth and success of basketball in America. European basketball at the youth level has caught or surpassed the US in terms of player development and growth. Currently, Youth Basketball in the US has very little structure, governing body(ies) or accountability, especially to life skills development and accountability to that end. The NCAA and NBA established iHoops to provide a structure and develop programs to improve the quality of youth basketball in order to enhance the athletic, educational and social experience of the participants.
The skyrocketing growth and popularity of basketball around the world, at all levels from youth leagues and high school to college and the professional ranks, has been fostered by extensive multi-media exposure around the world. With the good, comes the bad. This popularity and added exposure has brought new stakeholders and money to basketball.
“iHoops is a positive response to the need for basketball’s key stakeholders to take a more unified approach to youth basketball,” said Krzyzewski. “I am proud to be a part of the iHoops initiative to support those who play the game and to ensure that we have a system that puts the kids’ well-being first.”
The necessity of structure to Youth Basketball is at the forefront, but with basketball currently the number one U.S. participatory team sport with 23 million American boys and girls playing the game, iHoops will provide a renewed emphasis on the health and safety of youth basketball participants. The initiative’s online community and network of events will play a vital role in the game’s continued growth. There are skeptics, but that will be covered later.
Part two tomorrow… What Will iHoops Do?