A Portlaoise primary school has been twinned with basketball dynasty the Golden State Warriors and their star players Steph Curry and Kevin Durant in the Baskeball Ireland Jr. NBA draft.
There was big excitement at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on Saturday as the second annual Jr. NBA draft was officially held and was followed by the 2019 Basketball Ireland Underage International Caps ceremony.
Two Portlaoise schools were in the mix to be paired with one of the big NBA franchise teams via the Portlaoise Panthers basketball club. The Holy Family School drew the Golden State Warriors which won three of the NBA titles in recent years.
Scoil Bhríde Portlaoise drafted the Denver Nuggets.
The draft marked the beginning of the Jr. NBA Basketball Ireland League, which will run from October to December 2019, culminating in a festival of basketball at the National Arena on December 10th, 2019.
The Jr. NBA Basketball Ireland league features 14 Irish clubs who have partnered with local primary schools in their area to create the 30 teams. Saturday's draft saw the 30 teams from around the country matched with an NBA team as well as receiving corresponding NBA team-branded uniforms for their games.
Head of Development at Basketball Ireland, Ciaran O’Sullivan stated: "We're really excited to build on the success of last year’s Jr NBA league. 95% of the children surveyed last year wanted to continue basketball and we are hoping this year’s Jr NBA will be just as successful."
The Jr. NBA, the league’s global youth basketball 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. Leveraging the excitement of the NBA, the league will also promote the Jr. NBA values of teamwork, respect, determination, and community through the upcoming Jr. NBA draft, competitive league play, finals events and Jr. NBA youth clinics.
For the second year in a row DeCare Dental is sponsoring the league.