Star-led hoops academy will help kids develop basketball skills for the world of work

The new Bronx basketball school will have girls’ and boys’ teams, but will focus on the business side.Courtesy of Earl Monroe New Renaissance School of Basketball

BBilling itself as the first public specialty high school “designed around the global game of basketball,” Earl Monroe New Renaissance Basketball School in Bronx, NY, opens with a new vision for students interested in sports-related careers.

The school, which is home to 110 freshmen this week, is being founded by filmmaker Dan Klores with New York Knicks legend Earl Monroe also playing a critical role in the development.

The vision, the two partners said, is not to create a new pool of top players. Instead, it is about exposing and educating students to a variety of basketball-related careers while providing a high-level core high school curriculum for boys and girls.

MonroeCourtesy of Earl Monroe New Renaissance School of Basketball

“For boys and girls, it’s a way to get involved,” Monroe said of the basketball focus. “Most people won’t be able to play, but it’s a way to get involved without being athletic. It is to transform passion into opportunity and for a better life.

The school is housed in a temporary location in a former Catholic schoolhouse until a new five-story, 60,000 square foot building is completed by 2024 in the South Bronx. The approximate cost of the new school is $25 million, Klores said.

Yes, there will be a gymnasium and boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, but the focus will be much broader than winning and losing.

“It’s for kids who love the game and are considering having career opportunities in the basketball ecosystem,” Klores said.

To date, the school has raised nearly $5 million and aims to raise $10 million. The rest of the new school will be funded through grants, government funds and private funding.

With an initial annual operating budget of $4.5 million, funding and other support will come from Nike, Citi, Gates Foundation, SNF Foundation, Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation and NBA Foundation .

KloresCourtesy of Earl Monroe New Renaissance School of Basketball

“It will be self-sufficient by the end of the second year, because as a New York State charter school, we also receive money from the state,” Klores said.

Additionally, the school’s advisory board is a powerhouse roster of industry leaders, including Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman; Hall of Fame broadcaster Marv Albert; David Blitzer, co-founder of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment; Bill Bradley, former US senator and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame; and Michele Roberts, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (see chart, next page).

Other notable donors include Paul Simon and Bill Simmons of The Ringer.

The school’s funding also includes sponsorships and naming rights of various programs and facilities within the school.

Klores said donors can offer funds for general development or for a specific specialized program, adding that some donors want naming rights while others do not. Like many other non-profit educational, cultural, health and even sporting institutions, this is standard practice. The school is not absolutely rigid on the amount, he said.

Operated as a charter school, entrance to high school is by lottery with the 110 freshmen chosen in April from a pool of approximately 12 applicants for each selected student. Each year a new class will be added with an enrollment of 2024 which is expected to grow to 440 students.

Education will be free. In addition to the New York State-mandated core curriculum, courses will eventually be offered in a variety of basketball-related areas, including business and marketing, coaching, analytics, law, venture capital , broadcast journalism, sports psychology and kinesiology.

school supporters

A partial list of the Earl Monroe New Renaissance Basketball School Advisory Board:
Val Ackermann: Commissioner, Big East Conference, inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame
Marc Albert: Hall of Fame Broadcaster
Nate Archibald: Basketball Hall of Fame Member, Youth Advisor
David Blitzer: Co-Founder, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment
Bill Bradley: Former US Senator (NJ); Member of the Basketball Hall of Fame
Russ Granic: Vice President, Galatioto Sports Partners; former NBA deputy commissioner; Member of the Basketball Hall of Fame
Mike Greenberg: ESPN Broadcaster
Reggie likes: Senior Advisor, Apollo Global Management; former special assistant to President Obama; member of the 2001 Duke University NCAA Championship team
Michele Roberts: Executive Director, National Basketball Players Association
Barry Watkins: CEO, Clairvoyant Media Strategies; former Director of Communications, Madison Square Garden
Jeff Zucker: President, WarnerMedia News & Sports

Source: Earl Monroe New Renaissance Basketball School

The initial staff includes five administrators and 17 teachers.

“We are going to enter the specialized program every year,” Klores said. “We are going to move slowly. It’s basketball, not sports.

Klores began considering starting a basketball-focused school after founding the nonprofit New Renaissance Basketball Association in 2013, which focuses on providing educational programs to underprivileged children.

Klores is a filmmaker who directed and produced the acclaimed ESPN documentary “Black Magic” about black college basketball in 2008. Klores also founded the marketing and public relations company DKC.

He pitched his idea for a basketball-focused high school to the late NBA Commissioner David Stern, who encouraged Klores and signed on as the school’s founding trustee. “I said eight years ago, why can’t there be a special school for basketball, but not for playing?” Klores said. “The country is flooded with those [academies].”

Klores and Monroe were already friends, with Monroe previously working as a producer on “Black Magic.”

“We talked about the premise six or seven years ago,” Monroe said. “In the 1980s I had Earl Monroe Academy trying to give other aspects involved in acting. When Dan told me about it, it was a revival of what I thought but on a grander scale I got involved as a board member and that evolved into then giving my name to the school.

“I will be visible and vocal and do everything I can to grow the school and the idea.”