The National Basketball Association (NBA) has introduced a new game for Prince George’s County students that involves both hoops and numbers crunching.

NBA Math Hoops is a fast-paced board game with a pro basketball theme that requires contestants to quickly demonstrate sharp basic math skills before allowing a slam-dunk or a three-point shot to be launched.

And for eight Prince George’s County public schools it has become an after-school math club with an academic payoff, according to Nick Monzi, the Providence, R.I.-based director of NBA Math Hoops.

Monzi said NBA Math Hoops is designed to meet requirements of Common Core State Standards, in addition to the competency standards of various recognized federal, national and state educational entities and officials.

Here is how the game works: Each team selects five cards (players) to create a starting lineup. On the back of the card are NBA players’ performance statistics.

Each of the teams roll two dice on its turn. Whatever two numbers a team rolls will have to be multiplied, added, subtracted and divided by the team before the timer runs out. Only after the computations are complete can a team attempt a shot.

If the other team notices a wrong answer, they can challenge the results and take the other team’s turn.

On Jan. 31, Monzi, along with Prince George’s County Council member Obbie Patterson (District 8), stopped by Allenwood Elementary in Temple Hills, one of eight PGPS NBA Math Hoops clubs, to see how students were cooperating with each other while they played the game.

“We got the program off the ground and brought some games down here into the school,” Monzi said. “The most important part we found was that teachers were willing to take time out and implement this into after school programs. We’re really excited about where it can go.”

“This game looks difficult, but they look like they got it down and know what they’re doing,” Patterson said as he watched a class of fifth graders play the game.

“I’m so happy that you guys are motivated and determined to learn about math,” Patterson told the 12 fifth graders. “Keep up the good work.”

The class of fifth graders jumped for joy and congratulated teammates and opponents when they got an answers right, showing their god sportsmanship.

Fifth grader Paige Brown, 10, told the AFRO, “I like that it can help me with my math. Plus, it has my favorite sport in it. It helps because I’m not good at division or multiplying. So, every time we play this game, I can learn more and memorize my multiplication and division facts.”

“I like that I can practice at math and get my grades up, and have fun playing the game,” fifth grader Dante Lawson, 11, told the AFRO. “It helps me because I’m not that good at division.”

Brown and Lawson said they both love and play basketball. Lawson’s favorite player is James Harden from the Houston Rockets, and Brown’s is Simone Augustus from the Minnesota Lynx.


Courtney Jacobs

AFRO Staff Writer