NBA to start junior world championship for youth teams

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NEW YORK (AP) -- The NBA is starting an international youth basketball tournament using a format similar to baseball's Little League World Series.

The Jr. NBA World Championship will be open to boys and girls teams ages 14 and under. The league says Monday it will be played Aug. 7-12, 2018, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida.

Winning teams from eight U.S. regional tournaments (Central, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast and West) will advance to play in the world championship. The eight international teams will be representatives of Africa & Middle East, Asia Pacific, Canada, China, Europe, India, Mexico and South America.

The U.S. and international brackets will include round-robin play, followed by single-elimination boys and girls tournaments.

The U.S. champions will face the international champions on Aug. 12.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says the event is "another significant step in our effort to promote youth basketball globally."