2023 Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA Finals wrap up in style

We were recently part of this year’s Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA Finals, an exciting, heart pumping and exhilarating experience that takes place annually. Together with thousands of Bafokeng youth gathered at Royal Marang in Phokeng (North West on Saturday, September 30), the event was the culmination and perfect way to cap off a week-long celebration of the 11th Jr. NBA basketball season as six boys and girls teams won their championship games in the 2023 Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA Finals.

Lebone Primary School U14 (Girls) Bonwakgogo Primary School U14 (Boys), HF Tlou Secondary School U16 (Girls), Tshukudu Secondary School U16 (Boys), Kitsong School U18 (Girls) and Lebone II College U18 (Boys) were crowned the 2023 Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA champions in their respective primary school and secondary school age categories.

The final day of this year’s basketball league season featured 12 teams representing nine schools in six championship games, with some of the day’s highlights also including an appearance by former NBA player and 2015 AfroBasket champion Olumide Oyedeji (Nigeria), acrobatic displays from a U.S. dunk team and various entertainment acts during the day.  The event concluded with music performances by South African music artists Focalistic and Robot Boii.

The celebrations tipped off earlier this week with road shows and dunk performances at various Royal Bafokeng schools, first ever Royal Bafokeng Sports’ Future Stars Camp and a Her Time To Play clinic held at Phokeng’s Civic Center on Friday afternoon to celebrate and educate the girls in the program on leadership.  Top performing players, coaches, educators and alumni were honoured at the annual Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA Sports Awards and Gala Dinner on Friday night.

The Royal Bafokeng Jr. NBA Program, which launched in 2011, has grown to 116 teams representing 44 schools across all five regions of the Royal Bafokeng Nation and has reached more than 100,000 people over the past 13 years through basketball development and youth engagement initiatives. 

The program continues to make an impact in the Bafokeng community and has reached multiple milestones since its inauguration in 2011. More than 120 youth and 15 coaches have represented the North West Province in national tournaments. Six girls and two boys went on to represent South Africa in international tournaments at the youth and senior levels, and two girls and two coaches participated in the Jr. NBA Global Championships in Orlando, Florida in 2018 and 2019. 

In addition, more than 100 former participants have gone on to study at universities and colleges in South Africa, with two alumni receiving full scholarships to high schools and universities in the United States. Former program’s head coach, Moratiemang Junior Mmoloke, joined the Cleveland Cavaliers coaching team at the 2023 NBA 2K24 Summer League in Las Vegas, Nevada last July, as one of 28 basketball coaches from 17 African countries who featured on various NBA teams’ coaching staff as part of the Africa Coaches Program.