The NBA Players Association is starting a new high school basketball tournament

  • Four-day event scheduled to take place between March 29th and April 1st, 2023
  • “The Throne” participates in several other competing high school tournaments that are held concurrently

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) is partnering with Gold Level Sports & Entertainment to launch its own high school basketball tournament.

The event, titled “The Throne,” will take place over four days between March 29 and April 1, 2023 at Morehouse College in Atlanta. The goal is to assemble 16 of the best US high school boys’ basketball teams for a knockout competition.

Darren Duncan, executive director of Gold Level Sports, told Forbes that organizers are trying to stage a high-profile event on par with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 basketball tournament.

“What we’re planning is a March Madness-style event and we’re unable to sign teams because we don’t know how they’re going to play during the season,” Duncan said. “We’re going to see who is playing well in January and February and then get them to commit.

“Our whole thing is to build the best possible platform and when we’ve achieved that, we’re confident that we’ll all participate.”

Any academy or independent school eligible under state law may participate, with the final list of participating teams being announced between late February and late March. Final teams will also have access to educational workshops offered by NBPA staff covering various life skills.

Sacremento Kings forward and NBPA Executive Committee member Harrison Barnes is leading the players’ involvement in promoting the event for the union. Other current and former NBA players also supporting the competition include eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard, Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet and Memphis Grizzlies guard Danny Green.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for the best high school teams in the country to get together on the court and put on a show,” Barnes said. “I’m grateful for my achievements in high school, which were the catalyst for my NBA career.

“Additionally, these athletes are fortunate to have various platforms at their disposal to build and capitalize on their brands. I look forward to them demonstrating their skills but also developing leadership and business principles.”

SportsPro says…

In an already crowded end-of-year period, The Throne is the latest tournament to lay claim to the top US high school basketball players. A rival competition, Overtime Elite, has already confirmed to Forbes that it will pit its three high school teams against each other, despite taking place just weeks before.

Other tournaments scheduled to run concurrently include the Geico High School Nationals, which will feature several top schools and academies that likely won’t be taking part in The Throne.

The creation of the new competition marks the latest crossroads between high school basketball and the professional game of basketball after the NBA formed the Ignite G-League team.

With NBA players involved, The Throne could become a showcase for young players to showcase their talents in front of G-League officials and earn a spot on the Ignite team, a potential blow to the broader collegiate basketball system would be.


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