By Ken Reed
Basketball was invented in the United States. However, when it comes to developing young basketball players in the most effective, efficient and ethical manner, we’re way behind a lot of the basketball world.
The fact is American youth basketball has a terrible reputation. In particular, summer AAU basketball is often synonymous with sleaziness. At some point, everyone who’s been involved with basketball has heard horror stories of greedy youth basketball organizers, administrators, coaches and trainers who are more interested in what’s best for them than what’s best for the young athletes under their influence. In our laissez-faire basketball development system, “win-at-all-costs” and “profit-at-all-costs” mentalities are too often driving the bus.
The organization of youth basketball leagues, tournaments, and summer showcases in the U.S. is often chaotic and full of ethical problems, including the use of ineligible players in age-or-grade-level tournaments.
Into this youth basketball vortex steps former NBA great and college All-American Keith Van Horn. Van Horn, who after his outstanding basketball career became a successful businessman based in Colorado, launched Colorado Premier Basketball Club a little over a year ago with the goal of developing not only better basketball players but better young citizens as well.
“We wanted to provide a more comprehensive basketball experience, one that’s run in an organized manner and really focuses on two things: 1) teaching the basketball skills that were taught to me by some of the great coaches I played for; and 2) providing youth with a way to learn tools that can really benefit them throughout their lives. We really try to teach our kids things that not only will help them be successful on the court but how to be successful in other areas of their lives as well.”
“We feel that if you’re not an elite-level player but you’re young and love basketball, you should have some high-quality outlets for developing your game,” says Van Horn.
“Premier Basketball Club certainly has elite-level teams but we start with in-school programs at the kindergarten level. These programs engage kids with the game of basketball, while also improving fitness levels, an important factor in this age of increasing childhood obesity. We offer teams, leagues, camps, and clinics that accommodate all different levels of players.”
Van Horn stresses sportsmanship with his players — on and off the court. He also has his kids active in the community in a variety of community service initiatives.
To Keith Van Horn, basketball is more than just a great game. He sees it as an excellent vehicle for teaching the game of life, helping the less fortunate, and contributing to one’s community.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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