– Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative Founder and CEO Forest Whitaker
Attends Launch Event –
– New Court Will Host Year-Round Youth Basketball Development Programming and
Serve Broader Athlone Community –
NBA Africa and Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) Founder and CEO Forest Whitaker yesterday unveiled a newly refurbished basketball court at Cornflower Sports Grounds in Athlone, Cape Town, South Africa that will host year-round youth basketball development programming and serve the broader Athlone community.
The court was unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony by Whitaker, Deputy Mayor of Cape Town Eddie Andrews, and NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams. Following the ceremony, approximately 100 boys and girls aged 10-15 participated in a Jr. NBA clinic and peace activity led by the WPDI Youth Peacemakers Network, WPDI’s flagship program that fosters young leaders in conflict regions.
In addition to year-round Jr. NBA programming, the court will also host activities as part of WPDI’s Peace Through Sports program, an initiative designed to foster peace and harmony in marginalized communities through sports and peacebuilding training courses.
“Inaugurating this basketball court is a turning point in the development of our programs in the Cape Flats,” said Whitaker. “Its goal is to nurture healthy bodies and healthy minds, providing the children and the youths of the community with a safe space where they can strengthen their stamina and their character. It is a place that will cultivate future NBA champions. When youth play basketball here, I want them to have a lot of fun, but I also want them to know that each dribble can take them towards a better life — for their community, for Cape Town, and one day perhaps even for the world.”
“We’re excited to unveil this beautiful basketball court with the City of Cape Town and Forest Whitaker, which builds on our previous initiatives to provide more young people in South Africa with safe spaces to learn and play the game,” said Williams. “The City of Cape Town shares our commitment to using the game to positively impact young people here, and we look forward to collaborating further on Jr. NBA and other youth development programming in the city.”
The Jr. NBA, the league’s global youth basketball participation program for boys and girls, teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at the grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents. Jr. NBA programming has directly reached more than 165,000 youth across 18 African countries, including through the Jr. NBA Johannesburg League and the Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA Program in North West, South Africa.
Earlier this month, the Basketball Africa League (BAL), a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and NBA Africa, announced that the league’s fourth season will tip off in March 2024 in South Africa. Fans can register their interest in tickets at BAL.NBA.com.