Children with pent up energy have a new outlet from the NBA.
The league is launching an expanded version of its Jr. NBA at Home instructional series April 21, featuring longer-form workouts with NBA and WNBA talent showcasing drills and exercises for limited space.
“This time of year, we usually have kids playing with teammates, and we’re running an extensive calendar of camps and clinics,” David Krichavsky, NBA senior vice president and head of youth development, said. “In the current climate, we need to serve the community in different ways, so we pivoted quickly to develop Jr. NBA at Home.”
Jr. NBA at Home launched March 20, under the league’s NBA Together banner, and has generated more than 57 million views across its social channels, including 12 million in China. The short-form videos were a success, Krichavsky said, but the NBA wanted a more expansive offering for older and more advanced players in Jr. NBA’s 6 to 18 age range.
The instructional videos are new since the coronavirus outbreak struck the U.S., however Jr. NBA has used videos to help guide coaching curriculums for youth players across the globe in recent years.
The videos are 15 minutes long and debut each Tuesday on YouTube, and are then published later on all of the Jr. NBA social channels.
The April 21 video features Orlando guard Michael Carter Williams, while the soft launch video on April 15 featured Minnesota Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley.
Those involved in the shorter-form series include Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr., Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, and former Charlotte Hornets guard Muggsy Bogues.
“There was a great response from young people of the at-home skills and drills,” Krichavsky said. “But we also heard the demand from players for longer-form content. We took inspiration from the players we all see working out at home and the work they’re doing to stay fit despite the limitations.”
Krichavsky said there’d been excellent buy-in from WNBA and NBA players and staff, and the league hasn’t yet looked too heavily at integrating partners.
The NBA Together campaign the series belongs to is meant to unify the global basketball community during the pandemic, he said. In total, it has contributed more than $80 million in response to COVID-19 and 5 million meals.
“It’s about keeping people connected, and the NBA brings people across the globe together in a unique way,” Krichavsky said.
But there’s a life beyond the pandemic response for the long-form Jr. NBA at Home series.
The initiative touches at least 72 countries – each video is subtitled for the respective language, if not using a multi-lingual player – and Krichavsky said there’s a greater purpose to the series.
“We very much look forward to getting back into the gym, but there’s no question we’ve discovered there are many different ways to reach an audience and having these content pieces allows us to be more expansive on a global level,” he said. “Content has been a big piece of the strategy as it relates to Jr. NBA, but the current situation unquestionably opens up our eyes to a greater opportunity we’ll continue to build post-pandemic.”