PHOENIX, ARIZ. – The Native American Basketball Invitational (NABI), the largest all Native American tournament in North America, presented by Nike, Ak-Chin Indian Community & University of Phoenix, proudly announces that through their partnership with Nike, Amar’e Stoudemire and Diana Taurasi will become NABI’s Honorary Commissioners.
“Our national tournament, organized for the sole purpose of creating college scholarship opportunities for Native American high school athletes, will feature 80 tribal teams from the U.S and Canada. Nike’s willingness to stand beside our efforts to make NABI successful has been instrumental in our rapid growth” says GinaMarie Scarpa, Co-founder of NABI.
“Supporting NABI and getting Nike athletes involved is an opportunity for Nike to continue our commitment to supporting Native youth sports programs” says Sam McCracken, Manager Native American Businesses Nike.
Since its inception, NABI has created numerous opportunities for Native American students to receive college athletic scholarships. “We are using basketball as a tool to encourage Native youth to pursue higher education,” says Mark West, Vice-President of Player Programs for the Phoenix Suns and Co-founder of NABI. “Their exceptional talent and passion for the game makes 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. NABI is dedicated to organizing this tournament to showcase high school athletes from reservation from all over North America. We are bringing the talent to one city” added West.
NABI’s goal is to again apply to become a NCAA certified summer event. NABI became the first all Native American tournament certified by the NCAA in 2007. Championship Games will be played at the US Airways Center Saturday July 11, 2009.Sponsors also included Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals, US Airways Center, Merck, 21Native.com, Navajo Times, and Verve.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the NABI Foundation. For information about NABI, the NABI Foundation, team registration, sponsorship and volunteer opportunities contact 480-446-7052 or visit the official NABI website at www.NABIHOOPS.com.