NBA Selects Junior Jazz as Best Youth Program
Program Reaches More than 50,000 Kids in Seven States
SALT LAKE CITY (April 16, 2014) – The NBA has named the youth basketball program of the Utah Jazz as the league’s best at a recent group sales/ticketing meeting in Orlando, recognizing the largest and longest running youth program in the NBA. Having completed its 31st season in 2014, Junior Jazz annually engages more than 50,000 youth and 13,000 volunteers in a seven-state region.
“This award is shared with all the recreational centers, clubs and community centers that partner with the Jazz to provide a tremendous youth experience that teaches fundamental basketball skills and connects to the game at the professional level,” said Randy Rigby, president of the Utah Jazz. “Junior Jazz has touched many lives through the years with an emphasis on being active, having fun and displaying good sportsmanship.”
Participants of the Junior Jazz program receive a jersey, photo of current Jazz team, Junior Jazz identification card, certificate of participation and an opportunity to attend a Utah Jazz regular season game. Jazz players also hosted 14 clinics in January and February for thousands of Junior Jazz participants at area schools and facilities.
At the end of the season, the franchise hosted the Junior Jazz Sportsmanship Party for nearly 1,000 boys and girls at EnergySolutions Arena. The event honored and rewarded teams that best exemplified sportsmanlike conduct throughout the season with Jazz players Rudy Gobert, Malcolm Thomas and Marvin Williams in attendance to offer congratulations, pass out certificates and shoot hoops with the winning youth. The Junior Jazz Sportsmanship Program was launched in 2005 in an effort to highlight the importance of fair play and respect on the court.
Another highlight is the Fun Shot program, an individual shooting competition where Junior Jazz participants competed in local and regional contests with the chance to advance to the finals on the court at EnergySolutions Arena.
Each summer select Jazz players participate in a regional barnstorming tour, conducting basketball clinics, signing autographs and interacting with youth. Last year’s three-week, 4,000-mile road trip in Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and Idaho featured 42 clinics for 2,000 youth.
Junior Jazz emphasizes the development of teamwork, fundamental basketball skills and fun. Members include kindergarteners through 12th-graders, many of whom return year after year. The Junior Jazz program is supported by Industrial Supply, AT&T, Scheels, Denny’s, Larry H. Miller Dealerships and Savage Companies.