Native American Basketball Invitational draws top talent to Arizona

A Native American Basketball Invitational game. Photo from Facebook

More than 1,400 athletes from tribal communities in the United States and Canada are taking part in the 14th annual Native American Basketball Invitational next week.

The Ak-Chin Indian Community of Arizona will be welcoming players to its reservation as one of the presenting sponsors of the event. More than 250 games will be played throughout the course of the week.

“The Ak-Chin Indian Community has been a proud supporter of the NABI tournament since its founding in 2003,” Chairman Robert Miguel said “We are thrilled that the teams will be playing this year in Maricopa and look forward to showing off all our community has to offer.”

Participants include Kamaka Hepa. The 6-foot-9, 210-pound sophomore, who is Inupiat, hails from Alaska but recently moved to Oregon to improve his academic and athletic prospects.

The event kicks off on Sunday, June 26, and the first games start on Monday. The best teams will advance to the NABI Gold Division Championship, which will be held at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix on Saturday, July 2.

The tournament supports the NABI Foundation, a non-profit that helps Native youth with programs that encourage higher education, sports, health and wellness and community building.

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