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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


February 7, 2004 - Issue 106


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Phoenix Suns Host 2nd Annual Tournament at America West Arena


NABI 2004 LogoPHOENIX - Team registration is now underway for the second annual Native American Basketball Invitational, a high school basketball tournament sponsored by the Phoenix Suns comprised of Native American student/athletes from throughout the United States and Canada.

In response to the overwhelming number of teams that have expressed interested in participating in this year’s tournament, event organizers (POD Productions) have expanded the field to include 28 teams. To accommodate more teams, the first rounds of play July 21-23 will be held on the Salt River Indian Reservation with the tournament moving to the America West Arena for the semi-finals and finals July 24.

Teams wishing to register should call POD Productions managing partner GinaMarie Scarpa-Mabry at 602-265-2770 or visit NABIHOOPS.COM.

"The national exposure of this event for our first year was overwhelming," says Scarpa-Mabry. "One of NABI’s biggest successes came in the form of four college scholarships being awarded. This was one of NABI’s future goals, and to have it happen in our first year tells us we need to keep the tournament growing."

The tournament will again provide participants with a first-class tournament experience, including having the Hyatt Regency Phoenix as the host hotel, as well as an official Nike uniform for each participant.

Sponsors of NABI include the Suns, Phoenix Mercury, America West Arena, Nike, Native Voice, Hyatt Regency & AlterNative Marketing

About NABI

NABI (Native American Basketball Invitational), POD Productions first event, debuted on July 11- 13, 2003 at the America West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona with Nike and Phoenix Suns as presenting sponsors.

The vision of NABI tournament was to provide a spark that ignited Native American youth to set their sights higher, make the most of their potential and reach their dreams through sports and educational opportunities. The tournament featured 24 teams from across the U.S. and Canada.

Many of Indian Country’s most influential people spoke and inspired the young people participating in the tournament. "The coaches at Haskell (Indian College) and the people who I met through basketball saved my life" said Ernie Stevens, chairman National Indian Gaming Association. Tex Hall, President, National Congress of American Indians: Shared, "I came from an era where we jumped in a beat-up car and played on worthless Courts. This tournament should show you there are people willing to invest in you" (Jessie Stomski, Native Voice)

Sam McCracken became the Manager of Native American Business at Nike in the year 2000, a position he created with the support of the "powers that be" at the sports apparel giant. As McCracken explains, "My position here at Nike is to be a face of the community. It needs a real person that can make real connections. One of my goals is to heighten the awareness of Native Americans in sports, to support Native athletes."(Lise Balk King and Jessie Stomski, Native Voice)

NABI’s goal of receiving national attention from colleges that can provide scholarship opportunities to the Native Americans youth who participated was reached in our inaugural year. The tournament also positioned it self as being a quality national recognized Native American tournament in which youth and tribes have a desire to be part of in years to come.

In addition, the desire of the team at POD Productions is to inspire and meet the needs of Native American youth. By not only being a part of an exciting event that gives youth an opportunity to showcase their skills and provide educational opportunities, but by being part of their future and to build an on going relationship that encourages and supports their dreams.

Because of this desire, the NABI Foundation was founded. The Foundation will help with the needs of Native American athletes by establishing college mentoring programs to encourage Native American youth to further their education. POD Productions goal is to grow The NABI Foundation, governed by Native leaders, into a national Foundation within our first five years.

NABI wants to be the catalyst to catapult Native athletes into the college level of play and with the NABI Foundation, work with colleges to create mentor programs to help the students deal with the stresses of leaving the reservations with the hopes of creating life time career opportunities and Native Americans athletes having a consistent presence in the NBA and other pro sports.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

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