ExxonMobil in collaboration with the National Basketball Association and PanAfricare, has collaborated for the ninth edition of Power Forward games,which ended at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja on Thursday.
The ninth edition of the event is aimed at teaching of health literacy and life skills through basketball to secondary school pupils in Abuja.
The Power Forward Project, has captured no fewer than 40 schools in FCT Abuja since its inception 9 years ago with over 200,000 youths impacted positively.
The NBA Africa Vice President and Country Head of Nigeria, Gbemisola Abudu, while speaking to journalists in Abuja at the finals of the games said, “The goal is to roll out an expanded programme like this to other parts of the country because when it comes to talent development, it starts from a very young age.
“This is part of a big plan for the NBA. The NBA opened its third office in Africa in Lagos at the beginning of last year.
“This demonstrates the commitment of the NBA and the belief it has in the Nigerian market, that is, from the talents development perspective”.
“In the history of the NBA, we have had about 120 players of African heritage, and more than half of those have been Nigerians. That has signalled year-in-year-out the importance of Nigeria to the NBA.”
Meanwhile, the Country Director of PanAfricare, Dr Patrick Adah disclosed that the project has produced alumni who are making impacts.
“It has impacted them and made them achieve their aims in life. We have also produced some basketballers in Nigeria, that is, those who have participated in various championships. It ignited their interest in basketball.
“Also, most of them engaged in the project are the best-behaved students in their schools. We have about thirty students per school. The project attracts talents yearly in the NBA like Cedric Ceballos. We hope that some of the students will metamorphose into being players for Nigeria.
“We also talk to the parents.We have partners and stakeholders forums. We are hoping to have a parents’ forum also. However, we have consent forms that the parents fill out to enable the students to participate in the games.”
Part of activities for the 9th edition, included community outreach, motivational sessions as well as health talks by medical experts and basketball clinic with some former NBA champions.