A free program hosted by the National Basketball Association’s alumni organization is coming to Louisville, giving kids a chance to learn basketball and life tips from former NBA pros.
The day-long Full Court Press: Prep for Success program will come to Louisville’s Portland Christian school August 12. The program promises basketball, tutoring and mentoring from retired NBA players for youth ages 8-18.
Mariam Kurdadze, a program spokesperson, said between 150 and 200 young people attend each clinic. Kurdadze said the program isn’t just about giving kids a chance to meet NBA players.
“We don’t only promote basketball. It’s more trying to make sure they (youth) are on the right track,” Kurdadze said. “These are not kids coming from a private school. It’s really underserved youth that we try to give them the opportunity that they don’t have normally.”
Portland Christian School declined to comment for this story.
Started by the National Basketball Retired Players Association four years ago, the Full Court Press program has hosted more than 50 clinics nationally. Louisville is one of several cities the program will visit this year. Others include Los Angeles and New York City.
Groups like Strategies for Youth, a national nonprofit aimed at improving relations between police and youth, are partnering with the Full Court Press.
Steven O’Reilly is juvenile justice jeopardy director for Strategies for Youth. O’Reilly applauds the program’s mentoring sessions. He believes young people are sometimes misinformed by what they see on TV and he said it can hurt them.
“It’s really great because it offers the young people a lot more than just a basketball clinic,” O’Reilly said. “There’s a ton of misinformation out there and then when young people act based on that misinformation, it could really lead to everyday encounters with police getting escalated to the point where there’s an arrest or use of force.”
The roster of NBA alumni participating is not finalized, but Kurdadze expects a list will be ready by late July. The program’s latest clinic in Richmond, Virginia featured former NBA greats such as Johnny Newman, Terry Davis, AJ English and the WNBA’s Jessie Hicks.
Signups for the program’s Louisville stop are underway. For more information, contact Matt Smyzer with the Metro Leadership Foundation at (502) 235-9859.