Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Summary: JR Smith, two-time NBA champion and former shooting guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, has founded the JR Smith Youth Basketball Academy in his hometown of Newark, NJ. The J.R. Smith Academy is a part of the Jr. NBA network of youth basketball programs which strives to teach the fundamental skills and values of basketball to young children across the world.

1. What is the Jr. NBA Program?

The Jr. NBA Program is a youth basketball program launched by the NBA in 2015 that aims to teach the skills, values and fundamentals of basketball to children aged 6-14. The program features different levels of play based on age and skill level, and operates under several guiding principles including increasing child participation in basketball, promoting competitive play, and creating safe and positive experiences for children.

Through its Jr. NBA Global Championships, the program offers young players the opportunity to compete against other regional teams from around the world. The championships are divided into 8 regional tournaments and culminate in a global competition where the top boys and girls teams face off.

A core aspect of the Jr. NBA program is its commitment to using basketball as a tool to encourage physical activity and promote a healthy lifestyle among children. NBA and WNBA players serve as ambassadors for the program, assisting with the development of training materials and leading events and activities for children.

2. The Jr. NBA and its impact on youth basketball

Since its inception, the Jr. NBA program has had a significant impact on youth basketball in the United States and globally. The program has seen participation numbers increase across all levels of play, and has helped encourage greater equality in access to basketball among children of different backgrounds.

The program’s focus on fundamental skills and values has led to improvements in the quality of play, with coaches and parents alike praising the program’s approach. The Jr. NBA has also been recognised for its commitment to making basketball a safer sport for young players, with a strong emphasis on injury prevention and player safety.

With the global reach of the NBA and the program’s continued growth, the Jr. NBA has the potential to become one of the most influential youth sports programs worldwide.

3. The JR Smith Youth Basketball Academy

The JR Smith Youth Basketball Academy is a key part of the Jr. NBA network, offering children in Newark, NJ the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of basketball from experienced coaches and former professional players. The academy runs year-round and is open to boys and girls aged 5-14.

The academy is headed by founder J.R. Smith, along with a team of experienced coaches. Smith, who grew up in Newark, has made it his mission to use basketball as a means to give back to his community and improve opportunities for young people. Through the academy, Smith hopes to provide children with a positive outlet for their energy and a pathway to success both on and off the court.

Since its launch, the JR Smith Youth Basketball Academy has become a cornerstone of the Newark community, providing a safe and positive environment where young boys and girls can grow and develop both as athletes and individuals.

4. The benefits of participating in youth basketball programs

Participating in youth basketball programs like the Jr. NBA and the JR Smith Youth Basketball Academy can have a multitude of benefits for children both on and off the court. For one, playing basketball promotes physical activity and regular exercise which is essential for good health and wellbeing. Learning the fundamentals of basketball can also lead to improved hand-eye coordination, motor skills and balance.

Basketball is also a team-driven sport that helps players develop important social skills like teamwork, communication, and leadership. Regular participation in youth basketball programs can lead to increased self-confidence and greater self-awareness.

Finally, being part of a basketball community exposes young players to different perspectives and experiences, facilitating learning and growth beyond the game itself.


The Jr. NBA program and the JR Smith Youth Basketball Academy are both excellent initiatives for promoting basketball among young children. It is hoped that these programs will continue to attract more young people to the sport, impart valuable skills, promote healthy living, and provide opportunities for personal growth and development. By nurturing the next generation of basketball players, coaches and enthusiasts, we can ensure that basketball remains a beloved and important sport for years to come.

By admin

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