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Bryse Velasquez, 12, to Take Part in NBA All-Star 2003 Festivities in Atlanta


New York, January 21, 2003 - Bryse Velasquez, a 12-year-old from Colorado Springs, CO, who plays in the Boys & Girls Club of Colorado Springs Youth Basketball League, has been selected as a member of the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA National All-Star Team, it was announced by the National Basketball Association today. He will attend NBA All-Star 2003 representing the Denver Nuggets.

Bryse is among a group of five boys and five girls from around the world who will be honored guests at NBA All-Star 2003 in Atlanta as members of the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA National All-Star Team. Bryse and his fellow Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA National All-Stars will take part in a number of NBA All-Star 2003 festivities, including playing an exhibition game versus the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Atlanta Select Team prior to the got milk? Rookie Challenge, Saturday afternoon, February 8, at Philips Arena. The group will be introduced to the crowd during All-Star Saturday Night and will attend Sunday's All-Star Game.

"We are very excited that Bryse will join this exceptional group of young boys and girls during our All-Star 2003 festivities next month in Atlanta," said Chris Weiller, NBA Vice President and the executive in charge of the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA. "The National All-Stars were selected for their performance both on-and off-the-court and are fitting ambassadors for the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA program, which reaches a membership of over one million players, parents, coaches and officials."

The objective of the 2003 Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA All-Star program is to recognize male and female youth basketball players from Jr. NBA/Jr. NBA member leagues who are skilled basketball players, great teammates and who exemplify good sportsmanship and leadership on the court, in the classroom and in the community.

A guard for the Meadows Magic in the Boys & Girls Club of Colorado Springs Youth Basketball League, Byrce was named a Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA National All-Star based upon his stellar performance on- and off-the-court. Last season, Bryse led the Magic to a 12-3 record, averaging 14.8 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists per game. In addition to his success on the court, Bryse is also a straight A student at Russell Middle School and an active member of his community.

"Bryse has all the tools needed to become both a great player and a great person," said Bill Walton, Basketball Hall-of-Famer and a member of the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Advisory Council. "His skills on the court are only overshadowed by the way he carries himself off the court. No matter what Bryse ultimately achieves in the game of basketball, the lessons that he has learned as a team leader will carry him far as he matures in life."

Earlier this season, Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA member league directors across the country had the opportunity to name one boy and one girl in their programs, ages 11-12, as a Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA League All-Star. Each League All-Star was automatically nominated for Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA National All-Star consideration. Thirty finalists were identified and, with the help of their local league director, each submitted a skills video, report card and nomination form for evaluation by an independent national selection committee made up of Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA national officials, NBA and WNBA team representatives, selected regional youth sports administrators, representatives from program co-presenters Nike and Gatorade, Indiana Fever head coach Nell Fortner and ABC/ESPN commentator & Basketball Hall-of-Famer, Bill Walton. Ten players were then selected as Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA National All-Stars. The ten National All-Stars, made up of five boys and five girls, will travel to NBA All-Star 2003 in Atlanta, GA next month to represent the 500,000 boys and girls playing in Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA member leagues throughout the United States, Canada and abroad.

The Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA, presented by Gatorade and Nike, is a support organization for recreational youth basketball leagues in the United States, Canada and abroad that provides programs designed to connect players, parents, coaches and officials in an effort to heighten awareness and participation in youth basketball. Approximately 1,000 youth basketball leagues and about 50,000 teams (for boys and girls, ages 5-14 years-old) are 2002-2003 Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA members. 100,000 coaches and 500,000 players and their parents receive program components.

The cornerstone of the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA is an instructional support program provided free to all players, parents, coaches and officials from member leagues. The program components have been created by a distinguished group of experts, including nationally-recognized youth sports expert Rick Wolff, the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), New York Knicks Assistant Coach/Player Development, Greg Brittenham, and the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA Advisory Council which is made up of Ray Allen (Milwaukee Bucks), Mike Bibby (Sacramento Kings), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Danny Crawford (NBA Official), Nell Fortner (head coach of the Indiana Fever), Lisa Mattingly (WNBA Official), Doc Rivers (head coach of the Orlando Magic), Tina Thompson (Houston Comets) and Bill Walton (Hall-of-Famer and ABC/ESPN analyst).






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