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Tailor-made basketball program will be introduced to 500 schools

Sun Xiaochen
Updated: Jun 7,2016 9:24 AM     China Daily

Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal plays with speaking- and hearing-impaired students at a school in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, in June last year. [Photo/Xinhua]

Playing like an NBA star won’t merely be a fantasy for young hoops fans in China, now that NBA China has extended its partnership with the Chinese Ministry of Education to bring a tailor-made basketball curriculum to 500 schools beginning this autumn.

The renewal of the cooperation agreement, which was signed by NBA China and the ministry in October 2014, was announced on June 6 as part of the sports and education initiatives of the China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange in Beijing.

The pilot program, which will feature fitness and basketball development in elementary and secondary education, will be rolled out in August with five coaching clinics to train physical education teachers from 500 schools in 10 provinces. The curriculum was jointly compiled by NBA China and the ministry.

The teachers will then introduce and impart their learning in theory and on-court drills to students through weekly basketball classes beginning in September.

In addition, NBA China and the ministry will establish a steering committee made up of basketball experts from China and the United States to advise on the school programs.

NBA China and the ministry will also work closely to operate school-based basketball leagues and inter-class competitions and to create a digital portal featuring training videos and other programs to develop basketball at all levels.

The partnership extension was inked by NBA China CEO David Shoemaker and Xu Tao, director general of the International Cooperation and Exchange Department of the ministry. US undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel and Chinese vice-minister for Education Hao Ping witnessed the signing.

“We are excited to broaden our partnership with the Ministry of Education to make a long-lasting impact on the lives of Chinese students through a jointly designed basketball curriculum and a wide range of school basketball programs,” said Shoemaker.

Since the establishment of the partnership in 2014, NBA China has hosted a series of coaching seminars and basketball clinics across the country, launched Jr. NBA leagues in Beijing and Guangzhou, and donated 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) in a joint effort to build and refurbish public basketball courts across China.

Also on June 6, 30 other agreements between the two countries in such areas as soccer, volleyball and winter sports were reached by sports governing officials, association executives and sports industry leaders attending the high-level consultation.