National Basketball Players Association Sees Benefit in Mentoring Investment

MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
January 4th, 2016
Posted In: Campaigns, Corporate Engagement, National Mentoring Summit


We are thrilled to announce the National Basketball Players Association as Platinum Sponsor of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership’s (MENTOR) 2016 National Mentoring Summit and thank them for their investment in the youth mentoring movement.

In 2014, the National Basketball Association committed to recruiting 25,000 mentors by 2020 in support of President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. This year, MENTOR and the National Basketball Association family are launching a new public awareness campaign during National Mentoring Month called In Real Life, a campaign focused on positioning mentoring as a critical component in young people’s lives, helping them make the decisions that ultimately lead to improved opportunities and connections. MENTOR is proud to be working with the NBPA specifically in exploring the role of informal mentoring in young people’s lives.

We recently spoke with Sherrie Deans, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association Foundation and asked her to share her thoughts on the impact of mentoring and thinking of the tone of strategic investments in reaching and rallying more people to the cause. Read her responses below.

1. How do you see mentoring as critical to positive youth development and healthy communities?

“Absolutely no one can be successful on their own. When young people are surrounded by adults who are committed to supporting them long-term, amazing things happen. Not just in the young person’s life but in the communities they live in.”

2. How has mentoring impacted or played an important role in the lives of the players you represent?

“Basketball is a sport that depends on strong mentors. Formal and informal. On the court and off. Most obviously, players that make it into the NBA can usually point back to a coach or series of coaches that took a special interest in them and their game and committed endless hours to making them better.  The best coaches do more than just encourage and support, they teach and correct. There are also great examples of peer to peer mentors in professional sports. Veterans who take younger players under their wing to teach them about the game and the business.”

3. Why is it important for the National Basketball Players Association to support the President’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative?

“President Barack Obama’s initiative highlights the need to address the specific and unique needs of boys of color in an effort to improve outcomes. That is something that the members of the National Basketball Players Association care deeply about.”

4. How does the National Basketball Players Association encourage involvement in mentoring?

“Outside of our support for great mentoring organizations like MENTOR, mentorship is embedded in our business model.  All of our staff that work as counselors and regional representatives for our players were former players themselves.  It allows them to serve our players from an authentic and honest place. Current players enjoy learning from their experiences-good and bad-and the former players love developing the next generation.”

To learn more about the In Real Life campaign and how you can join the National Basketball Players Association as part of this movement, visit our website.

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