December 18, 2023

UN, NYU SPS, Philippine Mission, YMCA of Greater New York, and Naismith Hall of Fame Unite for World Basketball Day on December 21

NEW YORK, December 18, 2023 - - On Thursday, December 21, the United Nations (UN), NYU School of Professional Studies (NYU SPS), the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UN, the YMCA of Greater New York, and the James Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will team up to celebrate the inaugural UN World Basketball Day at two events in NYC. Basketball is the only team sport with an official day on the international calendar.

  • UN Session and Fireside Chat, hosted by the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UN - David Hollander, clinical professor at the NYU SPS Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport, who originated the idea of a World Basketball Day in his book How Basketball Can Save the World, based on his NYU SPS course of the same name, and John Doleva, president and chief executive officer of the James Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, will deliver remarks on the significance of the day in a closed session at the UN.

    During this morning session at the UN, Hollander will also lead a fireside chat with the incomparable basketball legend Julius “Dr. J.” Erving. The Philippine Mission, which successfully led the resolution to create World Basketball Day at the UN General Assembly in August, is this UN event host.

  • UN Diplomats Friendly Basketball Game - At 3:00 p.m. on World Basketball Day, UN diplomats from 20 countries will play a friendly pick-up basketball game at the Vanderbilt YMCA. Bristol Studio will provide the game jerseys and event catering will be supplied by Raising Cane’s

If you are a member of the media who would like to report on the World Basketball Day Celebration, including attending the UN Diplomats Friendly at the Vanderbilt YMCA, or would like to schedule interviews, please contact Michael DeMeo at

Proud Day for This Globally-Loved Sport

“Basketball connects us all. In my country, the Philippines, it’s a national passion. It brings out the best in us as a people. In my work, I view it as an instrument for peace - it unites everyone, it can even build a nation,” said Noel M. Novicio, avid Golden State Warriors fan and Minister of the Philippine Mission to the UN.

"This is a truly historic moment for basketball and for those dedicated to using sport to peacefully connect people from around the world. Basketball, from its inception, has crossed international borders and facilitated cooperation on every level,” said John Doleva, president and chief executive officer of the James Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. “The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to both preserve the game’s history and to champion those who uphold the highest ideals that James Naismith used to guide his creation."

“The YMCA is proud of our contributions to the game of basketball, from its invention in 1891, to the first slam dunk at the West Side Y in 1936, to hosting this historic game today,” said Sharon Greenberger, president & chief executive officer of the YMCA of Greater New York. “It’s heartening to see leaders from across the world coming together on the court in fellowship and peace.”

“What could be a more perfect celebration actually and symbolically than diplomats from all over the world playing a friendly pick-up game at the local Y?” said NYU SPS’ David Hollander. “I see this as the beginning of an annual tradition.”

About the NYU School of Professional Studies
Established in 1934, NYU SPS is an internationally recognized university that offers diverse students access and opportunity to practical, real-world preparation to thrive in their careers. The School helps build the next generation of industry leaders ready to embrace tomorrow’s innovations and challenges and lead change globally.


Michael DeMeo