Jason Terry, Others Trying To Better AAU Basketball

by June 13, 2010

The Amateur Athletic Union hoops scene can be classified as “shady” at times. Jason Terry, among other NBA players, is trying to help clean AAU ball up, for his kids and others like them. As NBA.com writes: “AAU basketball has changed since [Jason] Terry’s days in the early 1990s. With NBA salaries skyrocketing from around $1 million then to more than $5 million, the organization is much more of a juicy target for people who want to latch onto kids in hopes of getting a piece of the action. Terry knew about those problems and more — players jumping squads during a tournament, kids lying about their age, parents who encourage such things — because besides playing for the Dallas Mavericks, he helped train four players who recently came through the AAU system. So of course he was leery about signing up his daughter. Then he had another idea. Why not start his own AAU program? Terry is now among dozens, perhaps hundreds, of current and former NBA players with their own clubs, guys like LeBron James, Lamar Odom, Devin Harris and Mike Bibby. Their motivation is simple: Giving back to the program that helped turn them into multimillionaires, while trying to improve things for the next generation — which, for guys like Terry and Bibby, includes their own children.’We don’t want the kids to be exploited at such a young age,’ Harris said. ‘We want … to do it the right way.’ Harris and James are among those who’ve taken over the program they came through. James — whose AAU career was documented in the movie “More Than A Game” — sponsors fifth-graders to 16-and-under. ‘I wanted kids to have that same experience that me and my friends had,’ he said. ‘If you don’t have the right support system, the right guidance running the program, then it can get really bad.'”