The JuniorNBA – BIDEV Basketball League Project
On August 4th, 2022, BIDEV signed a long term cooperation agreement with the National Basketball Association aiming at creating the ‘JuniorNBA-BIDEV Basketball League’ that would accommodate up to 1,000 young boys and girls within the 9-12 age categories. The first ever JuniorNBA – BIDEV draft took place in Istanbul with the participation in 3 groups - of boys ‘under12’ and ‘under10’and girls ‘under12’. The players were assigned to teams based on the schools they were coming from, and the teams were named after NBA franchises, enabling the young players to compete under the names and logos of franchises throughout the entire season.
We are working together with the NBA, one of the biggest global sports organizations
We signed a long term cooperation agreement with the National Basketball Association (NBA) towards creating a JuniorNBA Turkish League in Istanbul on August 4th, 2022, to accommodate up to 1,000 young boys and girls within the 9-12 age categories.
The JuniorNBA – BIDEV first ever draft took place in Istanbul with the participation of boys ‘under12’ and ‘under10’and girls ‘under12’. The players were assigned to teams based on the schools they were coming from, and the teams were named after NBA franchises, enabling the young players to compete under the names and logos of franchises throughout the entire season.
The player selections were held at the Darüşşafaka Ayhan Şahenk Arena in November 2022 with the participation of over 300 guests from all over the Turkish Basketball Family, the media and the participating schools.
Over 1,000 young players participated in the games that continued until January 2023.
Participating players of the 60 teams in the U12 and U10 categories selected the names of the NBA franchises they would compete under in the presence of BIDEV Executive Board members Aytek Gürkan and Eyal Tarablus, BIDEV Trustees Füsun Çağan and Naci Cansun, Vice President of NBA Europe Neal Meyer, and NBA Ambassador Dino Radja.
There was a lot of excitement during the regular season games that took place in November and December with the participation of above 1,000 young players. More than 200 games were played and the first 8 teams qualified to the playoffs.
The play-in games that took place on January 2nd, 2023 in the U12 boys and girls and the U10 boys categories determined the last quarterfinalists together with the teams that came out top of their regions in the regular season.
Bilfen Çamlıca became champions of the U12 boys category, Alkev in the U10 boys and the Güngören Municipality G.S.K. in the U12 girls category.
The quarterfinals were played in the week of January 9th, in the Darüşşafaka Ayhan Şahenk Arena.
Bilfen Çamlıca (Boston Celtics) beat Açı (Denver Nuggets) 63-47 in the final game to win the championship in the U12 boys category, while Alkev (Phoenix Suns) beat Hisar (Minnesota Timberwolves) 54-41 to win the championship in the U10 boys.
Güngören Municipality G.S.K. beat Genç Paşabahçe 36-20 to become champions of the U12 girls category.
The finals on January 24-25th 2023 concluded the Istanbul organisation of the JuniorNBA – BIDEV League.
BIDEV represents an identity further to a foundation – it is more like a ‘family.’
Hasan Arat, Chairman of the BIDEV Executive Board commented on the cooperation: “BIDEV is not just a foundation – it is more a family of basketball lovers who came together to contribute to the development of Basketball, their favorite sport. We see basketball as a means to develop qualified intellectual individuals. Our goal is to help develop sharp, athletic and well mannered sportsmen/women by creating equal opportunities for all. Hand in hand with the NBA, we are working towards the BIDEV-Jr.NBA League (for young boys and girls) which will continue growing into the future. We are planning to expand our cooperation into different regions in Anatolia.
We are working Together with the NBA on a Journey towards our Dreams
Eyal Tarabus, Member of the Executive Board of BIDEV commented: The popularity of basketball and the NBA is increasing in Turkey. Every young person who takes a basketball in his/her hands dreams of carrying an NBA game jersey on day. We are honored to be working together with the NBA on a journey that will will take us to our dreams. I am sure that the tournament format of the BIDEV-Jr.NBA League will be valued by every school, youngster and coach and that we will have a great inaugural seson.
Türkiye has Rich Basketball Traditions
Henry Utku, NBA Director of Basketball Operations Europe and the Middle East commented: “We are really excited to be starting our Jr.NBA League program in Türkiye with BIDEV, who share our values for young boys and girls and our passion to teach the game. Türkiye has rich basketball traditions and this program will support further development of the sport in Türkiye by helping it reach a larger number of youngsters in an interactive and fun capacity.
What is the Jr. NBA?
Jr. NBA is the NBA’s global development program for girls and boys which was established to enhance the basketball experience of players, coaches and parents by teaching the core values of the game – team spirit, respect, determination and solidarity …
The Jr. NBA reached 42,000 children with 93 leagues in Europe and the Middle East in the 2021-22 season. The NBA was part of a number of organisations in Turkey like exhibition games, the JR. NBA League, other youth development programs and fan events.