Nike joins Suns to sponsor Native American Basketball Invitational


PHOENIX - America West Arena, home of the NBA Phoenix Suns, will serve as the site of the first-ever basketball event comprised entirely of American Indians coming this July as it hosts the first-ever Native American Basketball Invitational, produced by POD Productions. Nike has joined the Suns as presenting sponsors of the event, to be held July 9-13. Game times will be set at a later date.

The tournament will feature teams of American Indian high school student-athletes, male and female, allowing them an exclusive stage before professional and college scouts. In addition, the event will be hosting clinics that will focus on the importance of students furthering their education.

"The Native American Basketball Invitational is a great opportunity for the Native American community to showcase their passion to the sport of basketball, as well as highlight some of the most talented young athletes that live in this community," said Sam McCracken of Nike Native American Business.

The tournament will include male and female Arizona teams from Ganado, Chinle, Monument Valley, San Carlos, Greyhills, Alchesay, Window Rock, Winslow, Fort Thomas, Sanders and Tuba City, as well as teams from Concho, Okla., Redlake, Minn., Riverside, Okla., Ignacco, Colo., Shiprock, N.M. and Ontario, Canada.

"We are excited about the enormous response from the Native American teams and community wanting to participate," said Managing Partner of POD Productions Scott Podleski. "The selection committee was overwhelmed with the amount of teams that wanted to compete and we are confident that the teams chosen will bring great talent and excitement to this inaugural event."

The first round of play will be held at two high schools on the reservations on July 9 with opening ceremonies at America West Arena hosted and sponsored by the Phoenix Mercury July 10.

"We want to bring the excitement of the event to the community that is participating by having the first round of play on the reservations and to also give the schools an opportunity to generate funds for their athletic programs via admission fees" said Gina Marie Scarpa, partner and director of public relations for POD Productions.

Other sponsors of this event include the Phoenix Suns, Nike/NikeGO, Phoenix Mercury, America West Arena and RedNations.com.

Additional information about the tournament can be obtained at www.nabi2003.com.