NBA Players Association launches new high school basketball tournament

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  • Four-day event set to take place between 29th March and 1st April 2023
  • ‘The Throne’ joins several other competing high school tournaments held at same time

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) is launching its own high school basketball tournament in partnership with Gold Level Sports & Entertainment.

The event, called ‘The Throne’ will take place over four days between 29th March and 1st April 2023 at Morehouse College in Atlanta. It aims to assemble 16 of the best US high school boys’ basketball teams for a knockout-style competition.

Darren Duncan, chief executive of Gold Level Sports, told Forbes that the organisers are looking to establish a high-profile event on a par with the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) division one basketball tournament.

“What we’re looking to create is a March Madness style event and it’s impossible for us to have teams committed because we don’t know how they’re going to play during the season,” Duncan said. “We’ll see who’s playing well in January and February, and then get them to commit.

“Our whole thing is to build the best platform possible and once we do that, we’re confident we’ll get participation from everyone.”

Any academy or independent school eligible under state laws will be permitted to compete, with the final list of competing teams set to be revealed between late February and late March. The final teams will also get access to educational workshops provided by NBPA staff covering different life skills.

Harrison Barnes, Sacremento Kings forward and NBPA’s executive committee member, is leading player involvement in promoting the event for the union. Other current and former NBA players also supporting the competition includes eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard, Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet and Memphis Grizzlies guard Danny Green.

“It’s such an incredible opportunity for the best high school teams across the country to meet on the court and put on a show,” said Barnes. “I’m grateful for my high school career successes which were the catalyst to my NBA career.

“Additionally, these athletes are fortunate to have various platforms available to build and capitalize their brands. I’m excited for them to showcase their skills, but also develop leadership and business principles.”

SportsPro says…

In an already crowded end-of-year period, ‘The Throne’ is the latest tournament to stake its claim for the best US high school basketballers. One rival competition, Overtime Elite, has already confirmed to Forbes it will let its three high school teams compete, despite taking place just weeks beforehand.

Other tournaments set to take place simultaneously includes the Geico High School Nationals, which features several top schools and academies that are unlikely to participate in ‘The Throne.’

The creation of the new competition marks the latest crossover between high school basketball and the professional basketball game, following the NBA’s move to create the Ignite G-League team.

Given the involvement of NBA players, ‘The Throne’ could become a showcase for youngsters to show off their talent in front of G-League officials and earn a spot on the Ignite team, in a potential blow for the wider college basketball system.



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