When she was 14 years old, Tamara Moore wrote notes to herself about hosting youth basketball camps and clinics. She revisited those notes after graduating from Morgan State University in 2009. Moore is getting a chance to teach the sport through the Jr. NBA League program.
Kids, 4 to 14, attended combines and took part in skill challenges last weekend at the legendary Dome at Madison Square Recreation Center in East Baltimore. Games start Monday at Morgan State.
Moore said 28 teams have registered with players to be drafted onto each team. Teams will play once a week with about six to nine games a day at Hill Field House.
“I feel like we should have the opportunity for kids to play in the Jr. NBA Global Championships. Jr. NBA is everywhere, so this is a huge platform to have for our community to have access to,” said Rogers.
Moore, who as Tamara Rogers helped Milford Mill win a Class 3A state championship in 2005, founded the Baltimore Cougars Legends program in 2013 to help undrafted college players with the process of finding professional opportunities.
The Cougars, in conjunction with the NBA’s Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics of the WNBA, is introducing the Jr. NBA League to Baltimore. The program started last fall, and Baltimore joins Indianapolis, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Louisville, Miami, New Orleans, Omaha, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Antonio and Seattle.
The Jr. NBA League mission is “committed to providing girls and boys of all levels an opportunity to develop a lifelong passion for basketball, learn the fundamentals, and experience the incredible impact of teamwork through leagues that are accessible, inclusive, and fun.”
Rogers says that the Jr. NBA League is a huge platform for the Baltimore community to have access to. It is providing more than just a space for kids to play basketball.
“It’s not your typical league,” Rogers explains, “this is something that we encourage the Baltimore community to keep up with.”
Participants will attend workshops focused on college preparation, NIL (Name-Image-Likeness) deals, scholarships, mental health awareness and financial literacy during the six-week program. Internships and mentorships are also available for college students.
D.B. Henderson, who’s providing group development and training services, wants the kids to have fun while learning something new and positive.
“Kids are learning something every day, whether that’s good or bad,” said Henderson. So let’s teach them some good things to learn so that when we’re looking back, we have some good leaders and powerful innovators that are thinking and grow with the foundation that we set up and laid down for them.”