July 26, 2016

This past week, the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) brought its Full Court Press: Prep For Success program to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. The Portland event took place at The Warner Pacific College on Thursday, July 21 and the Seattle event took place at The Rainer Community Center on Saturday, July 23. Also participating at the events were the Jr. NBA, Police Athletic/Activities League (PAL) and Leadership Foundation.

In Portland, the clinic was hosted by Michael Harper, Slick Watts, Talvin Skinner, Vladimir Stepania, Craig Ehlo and Fred Jones. Harper did an interview with Portland 750 The Game prior to the clinic expressing his excitement about the clinic.

Slick Watts noted that though it is a tad bit hard for him to remain as energized as he once did during his playing days, working with the kids gives him rejuvenation unlike any other.

“It was a lot of work but whenever you get tired the kids pick you up,” said Watts. “I woke up at 4 a.m. and drove four hours from Seattle because I do not believe in being late. The kids tried to do their best and before I even noticed I was not tired anymore.”

Skinner agreed with Watts on the kids’ outstanding work. “I think they had fun with it but I think they really appreciated when they made a mistake and I told them to do it again,” he said. “When they slowed down and got it right I could tell that they were starting to hear me.”

At Full Court Press clinics, officials from PAL and Leadership Foundation assist with mentoring roundtables and classroom sessions. In a time where police and civilian interaction is more important than ever, these sessions prove extremely valuable to the youth participating.

“It is a fabulous outreach opportunity for the NBRPA to team up with police and leadership groups and share our knowledge,” said Jack Sikma.

Sikma participated in the Seattle Full Court Press clinic, just two days after the Portland clinic, along with members Lenny Wilkens, Vester Marshall, Vladimir Stepania and James Donaldson.

“The classroom breakout sessions we had were very engaging because the kids had so many questions,” said Donaldson. “We shared a lot of information with them and they would be encouraging and quizzing each other. It was very interactive.”

Sikma, a seven-time All-Star with the Seattle Supersonics, knows that the Full Court Press programs leaves a positive impact to all kids.

“Activity leads to a healthy lifestyle and I try to be open with the kids,” he said. “For them to see guys who had an opportunity to experience life in the NBA is really great. I was once where they were so I try to make a connection with the community.”

The Full Court Press program also features the Jr. NBA curriculum that teaches the fundamental skills of the game in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents.

The next Full Court Press clinic is scheduled for August 13 in St. Louis.

About the National Basketball Retired Players Association
The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) is comprised of former professional basketball players from the NBA, ABA, WNBA and Harlem Globetrotters. It is a 501(c) 3 organization with a mission to develop, implement and advocate a wide array of programs to benefit its members, supporters and the community. The NBRPA was founded in 1992 by basketball legends Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing, Archie Clark, Dave Cowens and Oscar Robertson. The NBRPA works in direct partnerships with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. Arnie D. Fielkow is the President and CEO, and the NBRPA Board of Directors includes Chairman of the Board Thurl Bailey, Vice Chairman Dwight Davis, Treasurer Eldridge Recasner, Secretary Nancy Lieberman, Rick Barry, James Donaldson, Mike Glenn, Spencer Haywood, LaRue Martin Jr., David Naves, Johnny Newman and Casey Shaw.

About the Jr. NBA presented by Under Armour
The Jr. NBA presented by Under Armour is the league’s youth basketball participation program that teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at the grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents. Through a network of affiliated youth basketball organizations, live events and interactive experiences, the Jr. NBA will reach five million youth ages 6-14 in the U.S. and Canada over a two-year period as part of its expanded efforts launched in October 2015. The Jr. NBA partnership network is comprised of youth basketball programs of all NBA, WNBA and NBA Development League teams as well as elementary and middle schools, military installations and longstanding community partners, including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Jewish Community Centers of North America, National Association of Police Athletic Leagues, National Recreation and Park Association, National Wheelchair Basketball Association, Special Olympics, and YMCA of the USA.

About PAL
The National Association of Police Athletic/Activities Leagues, Incorporated (National PAL) is a national youth crime prevention program that brings youth and law enforcement together in a positive environment that promotes trust and respect for each other. The "Mission" of National PAL and its member chapters work to prevent juvenile crime and violence by building the bond between cops and kids. National PAL exists to prevent juvenile crime and violence by providing civic, athletic, recreational and educational opportunities and resources to PAL Chapters. The PAL concept was developed in New York City, NY in 1914. From those successful origins the PAL concept spread, PAL programs developed in other communities. Today, there are over 400 PAL Chapters partnering with law enforcement agencies servicing over 700 cities and 1,700 facilities throughout the United States, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Nigeria, serving more than one million youth, ages 5 to 18.

About Leadership Foundations
Leadership Foundations is a global network of organizations working to transform the cities in which they exist and serve. These local leadership foundations (LLFs) work to make their cities better by convening people and organizations from all of its sectors, building the capacity of others and creating joint initiatives that address their community’s greatest needs. Every LLF approaches this mission in a unique way according to their abilities and their city’s needs. At Leadership Foundations, we connect our global network of LLFs, develop their ability to accomplish more with others and equip them with tools to make change happen more effectively, more collaboratively and with greater permanence and impact on their cities.