NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, talked to the media during the inaugural JR. NBA World Championship and referred to the success of the tournament, the actions the league takes to help people with mental health issues as well as the negotiations with the NCAA on changing the rules.
Regarding his thoughts on the JR. NBA World Championship, Silver said: “We have had 10,000 participants – these are the top 300, over 70 countries were represented, over 30 are represented in the finals. Seeing the enthusiasm, you can see that it is more than about basketball.
They’ve spent the week here in Orlando, they’ve participated in unique projects, been taught great life skills, and taught how to deal with stress. We’re thrilled and I think this is just the beginning of what will turn out to be a great programme over the years.”
Concerning the league’s actions to help the players deal with mental health issues, the NBA Commissioner mentioned that “Kevin Love and DeMar [DeRozan] have been willing to talk openly about their very personal issues which takes enormous courage and it’s a game changer, not just for athletes, but for all young people and potentially adults. It has meant that people recognise that even big, tough NBA players need help with these things.
We’ve added a mental health component to our NBA and Jr. NBA programmes. We talk to young people about dealing with stress, dealing with sleeplessness, if they’re feeling overwhelmed and most importantly telling them to ask for help. So it has become part and parcel of all the things we do.”
Adam Silver also talked about the negotiations the league has with the NCAA on changing the rules.
“We’re working with the NCAA on changing the rules. In a way, programmes like this are important in the discussions that we have been having with the NCAA and USA Basketball to help get more involved in youth basketball.
We haven’t completely absorbed all of their rule recommendations. I hear them loud and clear on not wanting the one and done rule. We have spoken to everyone and we are going to engage with our players association to find out whether it makes sense to turn back the minimum age in the league to 18.
Ultimately, if the college community doesn’t want those players then we have several issues that we have to work through with our players association but it’s most likely that we will go back to taking those 18 year-old players both internationally and domestically.”