The Northern Mariana Islands Basketball Federation was featured in a presentation on empowering national federations during the FIBA Oceania Mid-Term Congress for 2019-2023 Cycle.
NMIBF president James Lee shared the NMBIF’s journey since its new board was formed in April this year to representatives of the 22-member FIBA Oceania family in the virtual assembly held last Sept. 18. FIBA Oceania senior manager Amanda Jenkins facilitated the congress, which was also attended by FIBA Oceania president Burton Shipley of New Zealand and World Association of Basketball Coaches president and FIBA Technical Commission chair Patrick Hunt of Australia.
Lee discussed how NMIBF first had to strengthen its organizational structure before mapping out plans and programs for NMI basketball.
“We worked on identifying what the NMIBF board members and officials’ roles are by establishing committees. That way, we share the load and can focus on the responsibilities assigned to us and have direction and action plan toward that goal,” Lee said.
The federation head also mentioned the challenges NMIBF faced and is still facing right now, including funding issues and restrictions being implemented as safety measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. At the presentation, Lee highlighted the partnership that NMIBF was able to reestablish with the stakeholders in the sport—private and public companies and individuals, fellow sports federation, CNMI Public School System, FIBA Oceania, and basketball clubs/teams and their officials.
“Without these partners, we will not be able to move forward with our programs and re-engage players and teams to get back into the game after being inactive for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lee said.
Through its supporters, NMIBF was able to organize a tryout for the NMI National Program where the islands’ representatives from the Micronesian Games 2022 will come from. The federation also teamed up with the Tan Siu Lin Foundation and held a summer camp, partnered with Northern Marianas Athletics and private companies for a fundraiser, and is currently running an interscholastic league through the assistance of IT&E and the CNMI PSS. There are a couple more programs in the pipeline, including a village outreach program and tournaments for clubs.
“There’s a lot of work ahead of us and through our continued partnership with the sport’s stakeholders here and off-island, we will be able to accomplish them to strengthen our different programs and provide opportunities for our players, coaches, and officials,” Lee said.
The NMI is one of the only two FIBA Oceania members (Fiji was the other one) invited to address the assembly and talk about empowering national federations.
“On behalf of Burton Shipley, president of FIBA’s Oceania region, we would like to thank Mr. James Lee for presenting to the Oceania Zone Assembly. James and all of you at NMIBF have done a fantastic job setting the federation’s foundations over the last few months and we are pleased to be able to share this journey with the rest of the national federations. NMIBF have set a plan, and are now delivering to this plan and we are excited to work alongside the board in order to see these programs come to life in the country. We hope that more federations have been inspired by the story of NMIBF and can take a page from your book in terms of setting and delivering to a plan. Congratulations and we look forward to working with the federation on future projects,” Jenkins said. (PR)