Digicel NBA Jumpstart Programme changing lives through basketball
Over the last five years, Digicel and the NBA have partnered to develop youth basketball across the region. The Digicel NBA Jumpstart Programme provides young boys and girls with the chance to be trained by NBA players, coaches and staff, all with a view to raising the quality of the sport in the Caribbean.
“When we first started the programme in 2015, the thought was that we would provide some enthusiastic young basketballers the opportunity to go from grassroots to greatness in the sport. With the NBA’s support, over the years this programme has far exceeded our expectations! We’ve hosted camps in 13 countries across the Caribbean, provided training for 326 coaches who have aspirations of coaching at the college/pro level and impacted approximately 1,660 boys and girls aged 12 to 17, exposing them to a level of training they would likely never have otherwise received,” said Tari Lovell, Sponsorship Manager at Digicel Group.
So far, 32 Digicel NBA Jumpstart alumni have been identified as college prospects for potential athletic scholarships, and of these 32 players, 11 are currently playing high school basketball in the United States, following their participation in a Digicel NBA Jumpstart National Camp. One young player in particular, Kofi Cockburn, is the first major NBA prospect to go through the Digicel NBA Jumpstart Programme in Jamaica. Kofi will be eligible for the NBA Draft in 2020.
The current programme structure has four phases, beginning with local selection camps where the basketball federation in each participating country picks the top 72 boys and girls; after that, each country hosts a team from the NBA to conduct the Digicel NBA National Camps, from which the top talent progresses to attend the Jumpstart Elite Camp. At the Elite Camp, the players train and compete to earn a spot among the fortunate 14 who move on to the final phase, the NBA Experience in the New York.
For the NBA Experience, the final 14 travel to the United States where they get to play 5v5 games with their US peers, explore the city and go sightseeing, tour the NBA headquarters, as well as attend an NBA game where they might meet some of their sporting heroes.
“The development of the Digicel NBA Jumpstart platform has been inspiring to witness firsthand. We are proud to be aligned with an amazing partner in Digicel to deliver first-class basketball programming to the Caribbean and are truly excited to see how it continues to evolve with time,” said Idia Ogala, Asscociate Marketing Manager, Global Partnerships (Latin America).
In addition to the Digicel NBA Jumpstart Programme, Digicel and the NBA have worked together since 2015 to deliver live games and extensive NBA programming to more than 25 Caribbean territories through SportsMax and the SportsMax app – making Digicel the Official Communications Partner of the NBA in the region.
The 2019-20 NBA season started on Oct. 22, and basketball fans can catch all the action, on-the-go, via the SportsMax app.