There was double joy for American Community School when the landmark inaugural edition of Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League reached its thrilling conclusion on a gala finals day.
The joint venture between the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) saw 450 boys and girls aged 11-14 from 30 Abu Dhabi schools participate in the youth basketball league, for the first time in the region. Each school was assigned an NBA franchise to represent.
More than two months of intense action concluded on Saturday in front of legendary former players Paul Pierce and Robert Horry, with joyous hosts at a packed ACS coming away with glory in both competitions.
“Seeing players playing their hearts out not to win it for themselves, but to win it for their team-mates, was the greatest joy,” said triumphant ACS coach Levent Edepli.
The youth league is part of a groundbreaking, multi-year partnership between DCT Abu Dhabi and the NBA. The deal will witness the UAE capital become the first city in the Arabian Gulf to host pre-season NBA games when Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks meet at Etihad Arena on Yas Island on Thursday, October 6 and Saturday, October 8.
Other facets of the partnership entail a variety of interactive fan events featuring appearances from current and former NBA stars, an NBA 2K league exhibition and a series of NBA fit clinics.
Little separated the sides in two tense Jr. NBA finals this weekend, watched by more than 400 spectators.
ACS girls [San Antonio Spurs] won 11-10 against Summit international School [Memphis Grizzlies]. Esin Edepli from the victors was named MVP after a game which was decided in the last few seconds.
A late three-pointer decided the boys’ title. ACS [Portland Trail Blazers] claimed a come-from-behind, 23-20 victory versus Raha international School [Phoenix Suns], with Aaron Trescott taking MVP honours.
Lycee Français International Theodore Monod [Brooklyn Nets] beat ACS II [Detroit Pistons] 21-18 in the boys’ third/fourth playoff. In the girls’, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi [Washington Wizards] won 29-1 against Horizon Private School Abu Dhabi [Charlotte Hornets].
Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi returns later this year for a second edition.
Fans can also register interest in receiving more information about The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022, including exclusive pre-sale access and additional benefits, by visiting NBA.com/AbuDhabi.