The recently concluded 2018 Power Forward Finals took place in Abuja. This fifth edition included a basketball clinic with former NBA player Jerome Williams and WNBA legend, Astou Ndiaye in attendance.
This edition had students from ten (10) secondary schools who participated in the basketball programming. The schools represented were: Model Secondary School, Maitama; Rahinna Model Schools, Jikwoyi; Raberto Schools, Wuse II; Divine Mercy Secondary School, Asokoro; Glisten International School, Jahi; Total Child Model School, Dutse; Government Secondary School Karu; Government Secondary School Zone 3; Government Secondary School, Garki and Government Secondary School Airport.
Williams is the former Detroit Piston player while Ndiaye spent 10 years in the WNBA and represented Senegal at four FIBA World Championships.
Power Forward, a youth development initiative of ExxonMobil, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the international NGO Africare, teaches health literacy and life skills such as leadership, respect and personal responsibility through basketball and other programming to positively impact Nigerian secondary school students in Abuja.
Over 1300 students have been trained through the programme including 900 direct beneficiaries and 400 peer influencers from 30 schools in Abuja to date.
The NBA Director Operations for Africa, Franck Traore, remarked that the organisers had succeeded through the alumnus programme in monitoring some of the products of the programme, who are now in tertiary institutions.
“We have alumni players and some of them are already in universities. They always want to come back because we find them useful to instill whatever they learned in the programme to other young people. They are useful in raising awareness at the community to the threat of Malaria,” Traore said.
The Power Forward program was inaugurated in Abuja on November 19, 2013 with a Tip-Off event featuring NBA and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) representatives, Nigerian policymakers and influential personalities.
A number of NBA and WNBA players and legends have participated in the program since inception including Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, former NBA players Obinna Ekezie (current CEO of Wakanow), Olumide Oyedeji, Kelenna Azubuike and Jerome Williams, WNBA’s Chiney Ogwumike of the Connecticut Sun, Evelyn Akhator of Dallas Wings and former WNBA player Mactabene Amachree.
Power Forward is also part of the NBA’s Jr. NBA initiative – during the 2017-18 season, the Jr. NBA reached more than 26 million youth in 71 countries through a variety of camps, clinics, skills challenges, league play and outreach events.