NBA, NBPA seeking more respectful tone at all levels of game

NEW YORK -- The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced a plan Tuesday to encourage more respectful behavior within basketball, even at youth levels.

Many groups -- including the National Basketball Coaches Association, the National Basketball Referees Association and USA Basketball -- are also involved with the "Respect for the Game" initiative.

The NBA has been using that term with players for nearly two decades, hoping for more positive interactions between players and referees.

In June, the NBA's referees condemned violent acts toward officials in other sports, including a coach punching a 72-year-old umpire at a youth baseball game in New Jersey -- the umpire needed surgery for a jaw injury -- and the death of a soccer official in El Salvador who was attacked after ejecting a player from an amateur match. Many referee groups have also condemned instances of fans or parents losing control of emotions during games.

"Respect and dignity are core values of both the NBA and the NBPA," NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio said in a joint statement. "With the start of a new NBA season, we are reaffirming our commitment to promoting healthy and courteous relationships among players, coaches, referees, fans and parents throughout the game."

The NBA and the NBPA said they will work with youth basketball organizations to have "Respect for the Game" included in their leagues. Jr. NBA events will now include participants taking a pledge to respect others and the game, the league said.

The NBA's "Respect for the Game" policy was introduced in 2006.