Teams set to compete in annual NABI tournament

Christopher Lomahquahu
Gila River Indian News



Teams from all over Indian Country are set to flock to Arizona some summer basketball action. The Native American Basketball Invitational is a week-long tournament that will be take place from June 24-28. 


Three teams from the Gila River Indian Community will enter their hat into the ring for chance to play in the NABI tournament championships at Talking Stick Resort Arena on June 28. 


Community teams to lookout for are Gila River and Snaketown Boys & Girls. Other Community members and other O’otham tribal members will suit up for 21st Natives, Three Nations, Lady Jegos and Angels. 


Last year, the boys Gila River team lead a successful run at the championship until they were stopped in the quarterfinals by eventual champion Team Indigenous, from Shawnee, Okla., 78-60 ending their NABI run. 


The winners in the Boys Division D1 championship was Savage Storm from the Seminole Tribe of Florida, followed by the Boys Divisions D2 champions, Team Indigenous, while the girls Division D1 champions were NN Elite from the Navajo Nation. 


Where to catch the action?

Teams will be playing across five gymnasiums and requires a bit of planning to make sure you don’t miss out. You can watch your favorite team at Maricopa High School, Ak-Chin Recreation Center, District 5 Multipurpose Building gymnasium, Leading Edge Academy and Maricopa Wells Middle School. 


The annual tournament is sponsored by the Ak-Chin Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community, Seminole Tribe of Florida, Nike N7, Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Talking Stick Resort Arena. 


Ahead of the tournament, a college and career fair is held for all teams, which coincides with NABI’s initiative to promote education off the court.  Basketball players will have a chance to hone their skills at a two-day junior basketball camp provided by the Jr. Suns & Jr. Mercury. 


Individuals can come out to support the tournament at the opening ceremony and parade of teams on Sunday, June 23, at the Ultra Star Multi-Tainment Center Ak-Chin from 6:30 pm to 9 p.m. 


For those, who want to get closer to the action there is a $25 admission fee for the 5-day all access wristband and $10 for one-day all access wristband, and can be purchased cash only. The kids five and under are free, including adults 65-years and older, with a valid identification card.


For more information log onto or call (480) 446-7052.