Basketball players

United Arab Emirates: NBA coaches in Abu Dhabi to train aspiring basketball players – News

Several coaches with NBA and high-level junior basketball experience will travel to Abu Dhabi to identify world-class talent from the region



An NBA coach instructs school children during a training session in Abu Dhabi. (Photo by Neeraj Murali)

Published: Tue, March 1, 2022, 12:42 AM

A new era has just begun in UAE sports with the launch of the Jr. NBA League in Abu Dhabi. This initiative is part of a groundbreaking multi-year partnership between the NBA and the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), which will see the capital of the United Arab Emirates host the first-ever NBA pre-season games. in October this year.

The youth basketball league will see the participation of 450 boys and girls from local schools in Abu Dhabi.

The league for 11 to 14 year olds will start on March 5 and the final is scheduled for May 21.

During the opening ceremony, DCT Abu Dhabi and the NBA also held a draft event where each school assigned an NBA team.

The NBA junior league will provide aspiring basketball players across the country with a great platform where they can learn new shooting, dribbling and passing skills.

Clyde Drexler.  Photo by Neeraj Murali

Clyde Drexler. Photo by Neeraj Murali

Several coaches with NBA and high-level junior basketball experience will travel to Abu Dhabi to train the youngsters, hoping to identify world-class talent in the region.

Clyde Drexler, 10-time NBA All-Star who attended Sunday’s draft event and interacted with the students, said the sky was the limit for rising stars in the United Arab Emirates.

“It was great to get out there and share my love of the game with the boys and girls participating in the Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi Premier League,” Drexler said.

“Basketball has inspired me to pursue my dreams, and I know this program will do the same for the kids of Abu Dhabi. Who knows, the next NBA legend could end up in this league.

Haya Al Meqbei, a 12-year-old student from Cranleigh School, was excited about the opportunity to learn from the best coaches.

“I’ve loved basketball since I was a kid and I’m super excited that the Jr. NBA League has been brought to Abu Dhabi,” Al Meqbei said.

“I’m happy that so many professional coaches train us. It will help me learn shooting, rebounding, passing and dribbling skills.

Clyde Drexler.  Photo by Neeraj Murali

Clyde Drexler. Photo by Neeraj Murali

Meanwhile, Fatima Rothaman, 13, an American student at Cranleigh School, says she loves basketball because the sport is all about teamwork.

“Although I don’t see basketball as a future career, the sport has a special place in my heart,” she said.

“This sport will help me later in life because any career I pursue will teach me how to use these skills.”

But Mohammed Uwais, a 12-year-old student at ADNOC school Madinat Zayed, isn’t shy about revealing his basketball ambitions.

“I loved Kobe Bryant and he was my basketball idol. He was a great sports legend,” Uwais said. Benjamin Wooda, Uwais’ classmate, said the new league would allow him to pursue his NBA dream.

“I love basketball and I think I can go to the NBA. Stephen Curry is my NBA idol. I’ve watched him for a long time and he plays so well. I want to play the sport like him,” Wooda said.

Mubarak Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT-Abu Dhabi, is confident that the new initiative will inspire the younger generation.

“The Jr. NBA League will inspire boys and girls across the emirate to take part in this hugely popular sport. As someone who grew up loving basketball, I know how amazing the sport is,” Al Mubarak said.

“It really brings communities together, builds teamwork, encourages leadership skills and promotes healthier lifestyles, creating memories for life along the way, which is what Abu Dhabi is all about. .”