PHOENIX – The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community will be this year’s title sponsor of the Native American Basketball Invitational, the largest all-Native tournament in North America.
“The Salt River Community is proud to collaborate with NABI to inspire the hopes and dreams of our Native youth,” said SRPMIC Vice President Leonard Rivers. “We believe by affording opportunity to the youth, we can help reach the full potential of each individual. Our vision is to see youth excel to become the quality leaders of tomorrow.”
NABI, sponsored by Nike and organized for the sole purpose of creating college scholarship opportunities for American Indian high school athletes, will host 64 tribal teams from the United States and Canada. The championship games will again be played at the U.S. Airways Center and televised live on KAZ-TV, which reaches 75 percent of the Arizona market, on July 15. “Having the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community as our title sponsor brings endless opportunities for both the tribe, NABI and our Native youth,” said GinaMarie Scarpa-Mabry, co-founder and organizer of NABI. “We look forward to growing with them.”
NABI’s goal is to become a NCAA-certified summer event, while continuing to provide NABI participants with educational grants through the NABI Foundation. Since its inception in 2003, NABI has created numerous opportunities for Native students to receive college athletic scholarships. “We are using basketball as a tool to encourage Native youth to pursue higher education,” said Mark West, vice president of player programs for the Phoenix Suns and NABI co-founder. “Their exceptional talent and passion for the game make them prime candidates for scholarship opportunities but, due to the demographics of most reservations, they do not always get to show off their talents to college recruiters,” added West. “NABI is dedicated to organizing this tournament to showcase high school athletes from reservations from all over North America. We are bringing the talent to one city.”
Sponsors have included Nike, Suns, Phoenix Mercury, America West Arena, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Ak-Chin Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community, Seminole Tribe of Florida, Fort Mojave Tribe, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, White Mountain Apache Tribe, The Native Voice, 21Native.com, Navajo Times and KAZ – TV.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the NABI Foundation. For more information about NABI, the NABI Foundation, sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, call (602) 265-2770 or visit the official NABI Web site at www.NABIHOOPS.com.