NBA Sports Envoys visit Georgia for Jr. NBA GBF Championship (June 24)

TBILISI, June 24, 2016 – On June 25 WNBA player Kalana Greene and former NBA player Žarko Čabarkapa and will visit Tbilisi as Sports Envoys to the first Jr. NBA GBF Championship Game.  The Sports Envoys will lead a basketball clinic for Jr. NBA-GBF League athletes at 17:00 and award rings to the winners of the championship game, which begins at 19:00.  All events are public and media representatives are welcome to attend.

In May, the U.S. Department of State, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Georgian Basketball Federation (GBF) collaborated to launch Georgia’s first-ever Jr. NBA-GBF League.  The league was held in six cities, with 30 local schools and basketball clubs in Batumi, Gori, Kutaisi, Rustavi, Tbilisi and Telavi representing the 30 NBA teams.

The Jr. NBA—the NBA’s global youth basketball program—teaches fundamental sports skills as well as core values of the game at a grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents. During the 2015-16 season, the Jr. NBA will reach more than 6.5 million youth in 35 countries.

“One of the most important goals of the Jr. NBA League program is that the kids have fun participating, while coaches plant the first seeds of passion and skills needed to play the game,” said NBA Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Senior Director, Basketball Operations Neal Meyer.  “The young players have shown great determination throughout the league and I want to sincerely congratulate the top four teams who will be competing in the finals tomorrow to be crowned the first Jr. NBA GBF League champion.”

 

The U.S. Embassy’s Sports Envoy program uses basketball to develop skills and promote shared values with Georgian youth, with a specific focus on promoting gender equality, leadership, the acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities and Georgia’s prison reform efforts.  Since 2003, the U.S. State Department’s SportsUnited program has brought over 1,800 young athletes and coaches from more than 80 countries to the U.S. as Sports Visitors. Since 2005, SportsUnited has sent more than 180 professional U.S. athletes and coaches to over 85 countries as Sports Envoys, reaching tens of thousands of youth around the world. To learn more about SportsUnited, follow the program on Twitter at @SportsDiplomacy.

Former NBA player Žarko Čabarkapa was born in Serbia, and began his NBA career with the Phoenix suns who selected him with the 17th pick of the 2003 NBA Draft. He went to the Golden State Warriors in 2005 where he would play one season. He also represented the former Yugoslavia internationally, winning a gold medal at the 2002 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

WNBA player Kalana Greene currently plays for the Minnesota Lynx. In college she played for the University of Connecticut Huskies, the 2009 and 2010 winners of the NCAA Championships. Born and raised in South Carolina, Kalana has played for the New York Liberty, the Connecticut Sun and for the Texas A&M.

For Georgian press inquiries, contact the Gega Gabunia of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi at 595-58-12-86.