The Jr. NBA Program of the Year presented by Under Armour recognizes youth basketball organizations across the country that embody the core values of the Jr. NBA through their everyday programming and make an extraordinary impact on the youth in their communities.

Congratulations to YMCA Thunder Basketball League on being selected as the 2020 Jr. NBA Program of the Year presented by Under Armour!

Location:                                  Oklahoma City, OK
Years in Existence:                 Over 130 years
Number of Kids Served:      9,500 boys and girls, ages 3-17

The YMCA Thunder Basketball League’s vision is to help all youth reach their full potential. They leverage the excitement and passion around recreational and competitive programming to create a healthy outlet for children to gain new skills, develop a sense of team, and connect with positive role models.

For over eight years, the YMCA and Oklahoma City Thunder have partnered on basic programs and imagined a formal partnership to serve the children in the state of Oklahoma and grow the game. In just two years, the YMCA Thunder Basketball League brought a 65% increase in participants and 76% increase in communities represented.

Through the desire to partner and serve the community, this co-branded league is setting the example of how to grow the game in the correct way and provide a place for all members of the community to play. All teams are formed to create opportunities for children to experience teamwork by creating ideal team sizes that allow quality playing time, forming teams by schools or neighborhoods, and recruiting additional coaches to allow all children to play. The league offers both team and individual sign up opportunities, and no one is turned away for not having a team pre-determined at sign up.

All coaches in the YMCA Thunder Basketball League are volunteers and are provided the tools to use the fundamentals of the game not only on the court, but also off the court with character development and off-court programming. The YMCA Thunder Basketball League modifies its game rules by each age group to allow for appropriate skill development and fun. It is important for them to foster a love for the game at a young age and impact more youth through a developmental platform in order to instill a lifelong passion for the game of basketball.

To learn more about the YMCA Thunder Basketball League, visit

To learn more about the other 2020 Jr. NBA Program of the Year finalists, see below.

Arkansas Greyhounds

Location:                                Marion, AR
Years in Existence:                 5 years
Number of Kids Served:        200 boys and girls, ages 5-18

Arkansas Greyhounds is a non-profit youth organization focused on teaching and training boys and girls in the fundamentals of basketball with an emphasis on preparing them for the next level of play. They believe in serving as a positive force in the local community, and routinely gather players to participate in cleanup efforts around town and seek additional community service opportunities. The Greyhounds are also a Junior Grizzlies League partner, participating in various Junior Grizzlies camps and clinics as well as in the annual Jr. NBA MLK Jr. Weekend 3v3 Tournament and Coaches Forum.

To learn more about the Arkansas Greyhounds, visit

Defenders Ball

Location:                                              Whittier, CA

Years in Existence:                           2

Number of Kids Served:                 9,800 boys and girls, ages 7-17

Defenders Ball is a non-profit aimed at providing value-focused sports and community programs that serve the young athlete, parent, and community. They integrate basketball, music, information technology, and personalized experiences all while promoting the core values of enthusiasm building and personal growth through teamwork, winning, and learning. They run unique programming out of their Technology Experience Center and communicate with their members through their mobile app Defenders Sports Network. They have also hosted Her Time To Play programming for local girls with the Los Angeles Sparks!

To learn more about Defenders Ball, visit

Englewood Youth Development Center Corp.

Location:                                              Chicago, IL

Years in Existence:                           1

Number of Kids Served:                 100 boys and girls, ages 3-18

The mission of Englewood Youth Career Development Center Corp is to bring at-risk youth boys and girls alike ranging from 3-18 years of age in the Englewood community of the Chicagoland area together for chance at a brighter future. Their programs focus on building scholar youth by emphasizing the following core values: 1) Family, 2) Education, and 3) Discipline. They have also provided youth with the opportunity to attend Chicago Sky games and support women’s basketball as well as participate in the Jr. NBA Skills Challenge.

To learn more about Englewood Youth Development Center Corp, visit

Hurlburt Field Youth Sports Program

Location:                                              Hurlburt Field Air Force Base, FL

Years in Existence:                           2 years

Number of Kids Served:                 115 boys and girls, ages 3-13

The Hurlburt Field Youth Sports Program develops the physical, psychological, and social aspects of youth and emphasizes participation, fun with a purpose, sportsmanship, and downplays a super competitive approach to sports. They train 100% of their coaches with the purpose to mentor and teach a sport for 12 weeks so each child will have had a lot of fun, learned and/or improved in that sport, and made one or more friends in the process. They also offer their coaches a Youth Sports Program Coin that helps show their commitment to the team outside of their Active Duty job to assist with promotion opportunities within their Military Career.

To learn more about Hurlburt Field Youth Sports Program, visit

Manny Wilson Education Basketball Program

Location:                                              Boston, MA

Years in Existence:                           28 years

Number of Kids Served:                 125 boys and girls, ages 6-14

The Manny Wilson Basketball League’s primary goal is to teach the fundamentals of basketball: dribbling, passing, shooting, rebounding, sportsmanship, and teamwork. Their programs serve as a foundational learning ground to develop youth as athletes with abilities on the basketball court, academic acumen in the classroom, and ethics along with positive character throughout life. They have also been active participants in the Jr. Celtics Academy for the past seven years. Thanks to their affiliation with the Celtics and participation in Her Time To Play, they have grown their girls basketball and overall sports participation greatly among girls ages 8-13.

To learn more about Manny Wilson Education Basketball, visit

 If you have any questions about the Jr. NBA Program of the Year presented by Under Armour, please email