Move over, Little League World Series — the Jr. NBA World Championship is coming for the youth sports crown.
Reaching such heights may take time, but it's what the NBA had in mind when it thought up this first-of-its-kind competition, as was announced Monday.
The Jr. NBA World Championship, which will take place in August at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex at Orlando's Walt Disney World Resort, is a basketball competition that will feature the top boys and girls players, ages 14 and under, from across the globe.
The competition will be broken down into boys and girls divisions, each of which will be made up of 16 teams (eight teams from the U.S., eight international teams) that advanced through the preceding regional tournaments.
Round-robin competition, followed by single-elimination games, will determine the champions.
"Ever since Adam (Silver) became commissioner a couple years ago, he has really wanted us to be more engaged in youth basketball," NBA president of social responsibility and player programs Kathy Behrens told USA TODAY Sports over the phone. "We redesigned and relaunched our Jr. NBA program two years ago, and this was always an idea we thought we could work towards. We've accelerated the planning. We think it's a fantastic model for youth basketball. It's a tournament that, obviously, brings together boys and girls from around the world. So we're really excited about it. I think it's a tremendous opportunity to celebrate the game and hopefully to grow the game as well."
The competition will follow the NBA and USA Basketball Youth Guidelines,which emphasize the importance of player health and wellness by recommending how often, and for how long, young athletes should be on the court.
The participating coaches must also be trained and licensed by USA Basketball or FIBA — a requirement designed to enhance the experience for those involved.
The players will take part in NBA Cares community service projects and receive off-the-court mentoring as well during their time in Orlando.
"We really see an opportunity to create a model program," Behrens said. "One that not only focuses on the activities on the court, but celebrates and teaches and promotes the values of our game, helps kids understand the life lessons that are learned through team sports, promotes the standards and guidelines that we developed with USA Basketball in the last few years."
NBA and WNBA stars Dwyane Wade and Candace Parker will serve as the Jr. NBA World Championship's global ambassadors.
Media and marketing partners have yet to be announced.