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Basketball: London Deputy Mayor Matthew Ryder confident NBA Global Games 2017 will have a positive impact

PUBLISHED: 13:00 12 January 2017

London Deputy Mayor Matthew Ryder and basketball icon John Amaechi took part in a Jr. NBA Coaching Clinic (pic: NBAE/Getty)

London Deputy Mayor Matthew Ryder and basketball icon John Amaechi took part in a Jr. NBA Coaching Clinic (pic: NBAE/Getty)

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Denver Nuggets host Indiana Pacers at The O2 Arena on Thursday

London’s Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement hopes the upcoming NBA Global Games London 2017 boosts basketball’s popularity in the capital.

Matthew Ryder, himself an avid basketball fan, was speaking at a Jr. NBA Clinic for youngsters from across the capital as part of the build-up to Thursday’s regular season game between Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers at The O2.

The match is the sixth regular season game to take place in London, and Ryder is confident it will be as much of a success as previous events.

“I am delighted the NBA is putting on a showcase game in London,” he said.

“Both the Mayor (Sadiq Khan) and I have been clear that while it is important to attract major events to London, we must harness the power of these events to drive forward grassroots sport participation to improve community cohesion and social integration.”

Also at the event was former NBA and Great Britain star John Amaechi, who coached the youngsters.

And the 46-year-old believes that for the sport to reach and inspire youngsters to do well in life.

“When sport is done well it can make a huge difference to young people,” said Amaechi.

“The great thing about the Jr. NBA programme is it is standardised in terms of what it wants to achieve with basketball coaching.

“It’s not just about producing the next Michael Jordan, it’s about making sure young people have a tremendous experience playing the sport and want to keep on playing it through their entire life.

“It’s great to have the support of the Deputy Mayor and the Mayor’s Office.”

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