China’s Ministry of Education partners with the NBA

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The only thing bigger than basketball in China is its massive education system. And now, the NBA has found a way to tap into that market.

The NBA released an official statement Saturday announcing a unique working relationship between NBA China and the Ministry of Education. The partnership incorporates a fitness and basketball development curriculum in elementary, middle and high schools across China.

“This partnership complements our long-standing commitment with the Chinese Basketball Association to grow the game in China.” – Adam Silver

This marks another groundbreaking development for the NBA’s relationship with China. In fact, this is the Ministry of Education’s first partnership with an American professional sportsa league. China’s Vice Premier Liu Yandong, Vice Minister of Education Hao Ping and Minister of Sport Liu Peng, along with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum and NBA China CEO David Shoemaker announced the partnership during a signing ceremony at the MasterCard Center in Beijing.

China’s national basketball program will be impacted directly as the partnership focuses on basketball participation in elementary, middle and high schools across China and aims to provide enhanced basketball training to at least 3 million students by 2017.

“I am fully convinced that with the joint efforts of the NBA and China’s Ministry of Education, great success will be achieved in the cooperation of basketball education between the two sides, which will surely contribute to the development of China’s basketball education and China-U.S. people-to-people exchange,” said Hao Ping.

In February 2014, NBA China and Yao Ming launched the first ever after-school basketball program in Beijing, providing basketball training and fitness programs for boys and girls at all skill levels, while also teaching the importance of teamwork, leadership and communication in a fun basketball environment. NBA China currently employs more than 115 people in four offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei. In 2004, the NBA became the first American professional sports league to play games in China, with two contests taking place between the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings in Shanghai and Beijing. Following NBA Global Games 2014, the league has played 18 games in China since 2004.

This year, the Sacramento Kings and the Brooklyn Nets travelled to China as part of the NBA Global Games campaign. The Kings joined by NBA executive visited a Chinese elementary school.

Nick Bedard (@bedardnick) is the editor-in-chief of Basketballbuddha.com.

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