by Tzvi Twersky

In a press conference today featuring Hall of Famer Bob Lanier and future Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo, iHoops, the recently created official youth basketball initiative of the NCAA and NBA, announced that Right Guard was joining Nike and adidas as founding partners of the ambitious iHoops program. More importantly to you, with the new sponsorship comes a cool and unique contest, the Total Defense Challenge, a nationwide search for the best defensive player in high school.

Beginning February 15th, high schoolers can enter the Total Defense Challenege by filling out an entrance form on the iHoops website and by uploading a short video of their defensive highlights. If you think you’re the next Gary Payton, Kevin Garnett or Dikembe Mutombo, and have some tape to back it up, this contest is for you. If you take more pleasure in a good swat than in hitting a J, this contest is for you. If you want the chance to fly to New Orleans for a day to participate with 29 other winners in a defensive challenge, and if you want to attend a NBA game for free, this contest is for you. If you want the chance to be crowned the “Best Defensive Stopper” not playing in college or the pros, this contest is for you. If you want the chance to improve your skills and test your mettle against the best players your age, this contest is for you.

When speaking about D, Lanier and Mutombo, two men who proved their bona fides year after year in the NBA, agreed that defense isn’t always about getting the block or steal, it’s about making the offensive player think twice about what you’re doing on D. “To be an entire, well-rounded player you have to put the work in on defense,” says Bob Lanier.

“Being a good defender, the chance for you to block a shot is very low,” added Deke in his patented hoarse voice. “But the chance for you to change somebody’s shot is about 99 percent. There are someone great young players playing today; Emeka Okafor…Marcus Camby…Dwight Howard are all great defenders.”

Win iHoop’s and Right Guard’s Total Defense Challenge and you’ll have the chance to show off your D and learn more about it from like-minded players and coaches.

Ian Eagle, moderator at the event at the NBA Store today, mentioned that, “iHoops is on a mission to improve the quality, the programs and the experience of youth basketball in the United States.” Making sure that kids are focusing on defense and getting rewarded for being good defenders is just one small step of what they hope is many in the right direction.

Bob Lanier and Dikembe Mutombo iHoops