Elmore takes over iHoops initiative

INDIANAPOLIS -- Former college basketball player and current color commentator Len Elmore has been picked as the new CEO of iHoops.

Elmore confirmed the decision to The Associated Press before Monday's official announcement.

He takes over an organization that was formed by the NBA and the NCAA to improve basketball activities for America's youth. Elmore had previously served on iHoops' board of directors and replaces Kevin Weiberg, who resigned in March to become chief operating officer of the Pac-10.

"What I want to do is accomplish the mission to develop better programs," Elmore said in a telephone interview. "We want to use it as a means to promote the skills of the game and to have a positive impact on kids, helping them to become better players."

Elmore understands how much basketball can impact students' lives.

After graduating from the University of Maryland, Elmore played 10 seasons in the NBA and ABA and later earned a law degree from Harvard. He still serves on the Knight Commission and the University of Maryland Foundation board of directors.

He will continue working for CBS and ESPN, too, giving him a platform to spread the organization's message.

"This is layered on top of the television work and in many ways it will be integrated into it," Elmore said. "It's still about communicating to the stakeholders, and it's about visibility. We want to be the go-to resource for youth basketball."

The program was formed in June 2009 and is attempting to create a structure that will improve the quality of youth basketball in America. The goal is to enhance athletic, educational and social experiences for children, parents, coaches and officials involved in the sport.

In one year, the organization has added Nike, Adidas and Right Guard as partners, has launched iHoops.com and initiated programs to increase basketball participation at the grass-roots level.

The organization also works with USA Basketball, the AAU and the National Federation of State High Schools.

"Len's knowledge and passion for the game of basketball and for the values it teaches -- teamwork, dedication, and sportsmanship -- will be invaluable as he works to build on the success that iHoops has achieved," NBA commissioner David Stern said after the announcement.

Elmore will oversee the expansion of original content, special offerings and, eventually, educational courses on the iHoops website. Online content already includes support services and resources for players, parents, coaches, officials, teams and event organizers and includes information on training and educational programs.

That won't change during Elmore's tenure.

"We still have a job to do," the 58-year-old said. "Using my participation in basketball and some of the things I did in my life, I think it all starts to blend together as part of our goals and principles."

Elmore led his high school team, Power Memorial Academy, to a 22-0 record and the New York City championship in 1970. He graduated from Maryland in 1974 and was taken in the first round by the NBA's Washington Bullets and ABA's Indiana Pacers.

After playing his first five seasons with Indiana, he played with the Kansas City Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets and finished his career with the New York Knicks in 1984.

Elmore graduated from Harvard Law School in '87 and became an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn before starting his own practice.