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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Let's Go to the IHoop?

The NBA and the NCAA, together with sponsors Nike and adidas, announced some vague plans to move forward with an initiative that will bring together the top two basketball entities in the USA to work together with the national goverrning body of the sport in the USA, USA Basketball, the youth sport/amateur body in the AAU and other basketball constituents to help foster more cooperation at the grassroots and youth levels of the sport.

A part of the initiative will involved an online presence where fans, young players, coaches, officials and parents can register to seek guidance and information across all platforms of the sport.

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski joined a group of executives in a pre-game Finals media presentation where the foundation and concept of the venture were laid out but firm details remained sketchy, at best.

Both Coach K and NBA Commissioner David Stern paid tribute to NCAA exec Myles Brand for his vision in creating the initiative which is being headed by a new CEO Kevin Weiberg, recently hired by the joint venture of the NBA and NCAA.

"I see this as more of a conduit through which we hope the existing organizations that have those kinds of functions can carry them out in perhaps a more effective way than they have up to this point. Not that they've done a bad job, but just the way basketball has developed in the United States, for whatever reason, national governing body has had more of an international focus in fielding international teams," said Weiberg.

"I think we can help perhaps to spur a system, as Coach K said, that is more unified in which those kinds of bodies that exist are carrying out a broader role," Weiberg added.

The league issued news release stated the following:

The NCAA and NBA established iHoops to provide a structure and to develop programs to improve the quality of youth basketball in order to enhance the athletic, educational and social experience of the participants.

"With today's announcement, we have laid a very solid foundation for achieving our goal to improve the environment in youth basketball for boys and girls, parents, coaches and officials," said Weiberg. "We are pleased to have adidas and Nike join as iHoops founding partners, collaborate with the key stakeholders in American basketball, and support the efforts for the long-term good of the game."

Board members for the iHoops initiative include Krzyzewski, NCAA senior vice president of basketball and business strategies Greg Shaheen, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson, NBA executive vice president of social responsibility and player programs Kathy Behrens and attorney and college basketball television analyst Len Elmore.

"iHoops is a positive response to the need for basketball's key stakeholders to take a more unified approach to youth basketball," said Krzyzewski. "I am proud to be a part of the iHoops initiative to support those who play the game and to ensure that we have a system that puts the kids' well-being first."

iHoops will provide supporting services and programs for youth basketball players ages 6 to 18, their parents, coaches, officials and team and event administrators. (a division of The Active Network, Inc.) is the technology provider for and will operate the site, which will launch this fall., set to become the premier youth basketball online community and network in the U.S. and Canada, will facilitate communication and be an essential resource for players, coaches, officials, parents and youth teams at all levels. will provide skill-training curriculum, certification programs for coaches and officials and the opportunity to register for events, tournaments and programs. In addition, the site will feature instructional videos, player profiles and highlights from tournaments.

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