Mutombo Crowns Junior NBA Basketball England League Champions!
The Junior NBA Basketball England League finals reached their climax yesterday at the University of East London, where the Platanos Academy aka the Dallas Mavericks were victorious and crowned champions by none other than NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo ahead of the Global Games taking place today at the O2 arena.
Harefield Academy (representing the Portland Trail Blazers), Platanos Basketball Academy (Dallas Mavericks) from the Western Conference, St. Bonaventure’s RC School (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Evelyn Grace Academy (Miami Heat) from the Eastern Conference were the four teams to have qualified for the semi finals of the league which tipped off last October.
With the winners of the competition receiving exclusive invitation to an official dinner with the NBA legend ahead of them attending the Milwaukee Bucks vs New York Knicks game at the O2 arena, the anticipation and the stakes were high in preparation for the event.
The semi finals were a tightly contested battle which saw Harefield Academy lose out to eventual winners Platanos Academy and St. Bonaventure victorious over the Evelyn Grace Academy to reach the final and battle it out with 18 year NBA veteran Dikembo Mutombo courtside watching the action unfold.
After a fantastic final game which saw both sides use teamwork, individual flare and determination to try to edge past their competitors, the final whistle blew with the game finishing 27-21 to in Platanos’ favour, making them the first ever Junior NBA Basketball England League Champions.
The Jr. NBA Basketball England League began with 30 youth teams across London who played an eight-game season followed by single-elimination playoffs to determine the league champion. Each of the secondary schools represented one of the 30 NBA teams and received corresponding NBA t-shirts for their games.
Coach of the winning team, Dodi Butor said of the competition, “This is a fantastic competition because it gives young people the chance to play basketball when they may not have had the opportunity otherwise. It gets the pupils interested really young, and now they are choosing basketball over other sport opportunities. It is a credit to the NBA and Basketball England for providing a grassroots, exciting, high quality event and we cannot wait to watch some of the best basketball in the world at the Global Games.
NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo who attended the event said; “This was a great event. I am very happy that I was part of it and that I could watch potential future legends of the game. It was great to see all the wonderful children today.”.