By Tom Degun

Boris_Johnson_at_launch_of_NBA_week_February_25_2011February 25 - London Mayor Boris Johnson was today joined at City Hall by 30 children from Merton Hawks Basketball Club as he tipped off the first ever UK NBA Basketball Week.

The NBA Basketball Week is a series of free, youth-orientated basketball events, including a mobile Pop Up court, taking place in London and across the UK between February 25 and March 6.

The week culminates when the New Jersey Nets and the Toronto Raptors meet in the O2 Arena, the venue for basketball at the London 2012 Games, on March 4-5 to play in the NBA's first regular-season games in Europe.

"The NBA returning to the capital is fantastic news," said Johnson.

"I am committed to the 2012 Games leaving a genuine legacy of increased participation in sport, especially amongst young people.

"The NBA has generated enormous excitement from all its games in London and giving youngsters the chance to hone their skills with its basketball week will help us towards the slam dunk we are aiming for."

Sophie Goldschmidt, senior vice-president of NBA Europe, added: "We are excited to be providing fans in London and across the country with interactive opportunities to experience the game through NBA Basketball Week.

"NBA Basketball Week is a fitting lead up to the NBA's biggest event in London with our first-ever regular-season games, and we hope this week-long celebration of basketball will become a regular feature on the UK sporting calendar."


NBA Basketball Week activity starts today in Acton, south London as the Vale Centre plays host to the first of a series adidas NBA Cares basketball clinics for youngsters.

The Acton clinic will be conducted in partnership with Street Games which is a youth sport development charity aimed at providing opportunities to teenagers from London's urban communities.

The Pop Up court returns to London on March 2, where it will make stops at prominent locations across the city, including Covent Garden, from 10am to 6pm.

Basketball Week continues from March 2 through to March 6 as the NBA Fan Zone takes up residence in Europe's largest shopping mall, Westfield London, in Shepherd¹s Bush.

The NBA Fan Zone, a five day free event featuring interactive basketball activities at Westfield, will include further adidas NBA Cares basketball clinics, a coaching clinic, a Sprite 3-on-3 tournament, Foot Locker Three-Point contest and appearances from NBA legends the New Jersey Nets Dancers, Sly the Nets team mascot, the Nets Dunkin Divas and Team Hype.

In addition, the National Basketball Association (NBA), British Basketball (representing Team GB), the British Basketball League (BBL), and England Basketball (EB) have united for the inaugural NBA Basketball Week that will also see activities in Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester and Sheffield.

The NBA, founded in 1946, is a professional sports league and global business that features 30 teams in the United States and Canada.

In total NBA games will reach 215 countries and territories in more than 40 languages while official NBA rosters currently feature 86 players from 40 countries and territories.

NBA merchandise is sold in more than 100,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents.

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