Basketball is considered by some to be the unofficial sport of Indian country. From Montana to Oklahoma to Arizona and all points in between, there are small towns on Indian reservations (pueblos, settlements, rancherias or communities) that are beating non-Native teams.
These Native powerhouses have this same level of success annually--many of these teams are powers within their respective states every year. Still, despite such success and ability across Native nations, there was no “community”--a place where the best Native basketball players within a particular state could test their mettle, as well as communicate and compare their experiences to other Native players.
Despite the abundant talent, there was a distinct lack of opportunities for Native basketball players to push their talents on the hardwood and in the classroom past the high school level. This was a result of the unwritten rule that prevented college coaches from seeing Native players as legitimate prospects. Enter NABI--its mission is to make sure talented Native ballplayers have the same opportunity to play basketball at a post-high school level and develop a legacy of educational and experiential success in college using basketball as the vehicle.