President of the Congolese Basketball Federation,
Minister of Higher Education,
Minister of Sports and Physical Education,
General Director of MTN,
Director of NBA-Africa,
Ladies and gentlemen of the NBA, above all NBA star Ronny Turiaf,
Distinguished guests in all your ranks, grades, and qualities,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear young basketball lovers,
Hello! I am very pleased with the initiative of the African NBA to launch the very first Junior NBA Program in Congo-Brazzaville. I would like to especially thank the telephone company Mobile MTN that was kind enough to partner with the African NBA to render this program possible in Congo-Brazzaville.
The Embassy of the United States in partnership with MTN has organized a soccer tournament for the past eight years for high-school girls, called “Tournament Promoting Young Girls”. This new partnership reinforces the solid connections that already exist between the American people and those of Congo.
We are very happy that the NBA has decided to launch the Junior NBA program here in Congo. The Junior NBA Program allows youth, their coaches, and their parents to interact with these stars, to learn from them fundamentals of basketball in particular and the sport’s values in general. Who knows, maybe the next NBA star from Congo is among us today.
But the objective of the Junior NBA is not only the development of sports talent at the youth level, but it also helps to teach important values, notably team spirit, leadership, and community engagement. I myself started playing basketball at the age of 10, and I was a big fan of the Celtics. I can attest that this opportunity gave me a lot of confidence.
This program of two years will debut in twenty schools in Brazzaville, and more over the course of the next year. It could even expand to other cities in the Congo. In the end, there will be a winning team but all the players who participate are winners.
This goes without saying, that the United States embassy will spare no effort to accompany you all throughout these youth empowerment programs. Thank you.