NBRPA & Partners Enhance Full Court Press Events

June 18, 2015

For generations, NBA players have given back to young people and the National Basketball Retired Players Association’s (NBRPA) Legends of Basketball are no exception. Throughout the 23-year history of our organization, NBRPA members have donated countless hours of community service though basketball and life skills events.

Three years ago the NBRPA’s Board of Directors recognized a desire within membership  to formalize its dedication to community service by officially broadening the organization’s historic mission of assisting former players in life after basketball to also include  positively impacting communities and youth through basketball. With that expanded mission the NBRPA set out to establish a signature youth program in order to fulfill its commitment to give back and Full Court Press: Prep for Success was created.

Full Court Press: Prep for Success is a five-hour youth basketball and mentoring clinic for underserved boys and girls, ages 10-16, in cities across the United States. The program is designed to introduce participating youth to positive role models in both basketball and life, with equal time spent on the basketball court, in the classroom and at a mentoring roundtable as part of a robust curriculum. Full Court Press: Prep for Success created by the NBRPA in 2013 and in 2015 the NBA came on board as an official partner for the program, helping elevate the program with both financial and programming support under its NBA Cares Umbrella.

NBA Cares is the league’s global community outreach initiative that addresses important social issues such as education, youth and family development, and health and wellness. The NBA and its teams support a range of programs, partners and initiatives that strive to positively impact children and families worldwide.

“We are very proud to have built this program alongside our partners from the ground up,” said NBRPA Chairman of the Board Thurl Bailey, who recently led a Full Court Press: Prep for Success event at the Utah Jazz practice facility in Salt Lake City. “But the support of the NBA – its resources and expertise in working on social responsibility – has taken the program to a whole new level.”

Indeed, Full Court Press: Prep for Success has never been more impactful. The program is a joint initiative of the NBRPA, NBA Cares, the National Police Athletic/Activities League (PAL) and Leadership Foundations (LF). The touring program visits 10-15 cities annually and includes four NBRPA Members as coaches and mentors in each session. Mentoring classroom periods address topics relevant to each community and are taught by community leaders from Leadership Foundations and PAL. The mentoring roundtable in each session falls in line with the White House’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative and includes from all three partners.

Each Full Court Press: Prep for Success event is uniquely designed to fit the community it serves. Some events take place at NBA team facilities, while others are held at local colleges or recreation centers. Life skills and mentoring topics are chosen based on age, community demographics and localized issues. All youth participants receive a t-shirt, healthy lunch, hydrating beverages courtesy of Gatorade and unlimited warm smiles to go with heart-warming tales of life lessons from our Legends.

“I firmly believe in the power of sport to make an impact on young lives,” said NBRPA President & CEO Arnie D. Fielkow. “When our Legends walk into a gymnasium full of children, I see young faces light up. Our members have amazing stories to share – not just about how they excelled on the court, but also how they made it off the court – and Full Court Press: Prep for Success is the perfect venue for first-person mentoring to take place. Community service has always been a big part of this organization, but this strategic program has now developed to the point that the NBRPA and its partners are making a great impact in a short amount of time and that’s what we envisioned when the NBRPA’s charitable mission was expanded … it’s all about the kids.”