Creating Hope and Impact through Basketball for marginalized kids in India

Crossover Basketball
Crossover Basketball

Sports has great power to impact the lives of children by extending beyond mere physical activity to shape character and instill valuable life skills. Engaging in sports fosters discipline, teamwork, and perseverance, qualities essential for success in both academic and personal pursuits. 

Meet Crossover Basketball and Scholars Academy, a US-based, international non-profit organization that operates in India by leveraging the power of Sports and Athletics to develop academic opportunities for students regardless of their economic status. 

Crossover Basketball is dedicated to impacting the education rates of marginalized communities in India through the use of basketball as a vehicle of change. The non-profit organization works towards changing the pathway of low-income, marginalized students in India, by engaging educators and schools, to participate in a program designed to teach leadership, gender equity, and critical thinking.

The Crossover program brings together young people with academic interest and athletic skill to learn both on the court and in the classroom. This balanced approach allows students to learn about all the opportunities that exist through athletics and how to achieve their goals. Crossover is not focused on producing the next NBA superstar, but rather a community of student leaders who will serve as an example to others and who just might be the next starting college and universities players.

Shaun Jayachandran, a former basketball player turned CEO, is the founder of Crossover Basketball. Standing at 6'4", he defies stereotypes of South Asian diaspora. His South Indian and Canadian background enriches his perspective as a non-profit CEO. Passionate about using sports to encourage education, Shaun advocates for representation and inclusivity. With a multifaceted career spanning coaching, teaching, and administration, he brings a wealth of experience to his nonprofit work. Shaun's innovative program connects scholar athletes between the U.S. and India. 

Shaun Jayachandran
Shaun Jayachandran, Founder of Crossover Basketball

Through its work, Crossover Basketball is addressing some pertinent challenges in India. 

India has around 431 million children, of which over 52 Million live in extreme poverty ($1.90 per day) and 84% of Indians live on less than $7 per day ($210 a month).

Crossover’s entire approach is through introducing a new game, a new way to play that is engaging, a global game, and one that allows us to teach about leadership, gender equity, character, teamwork, and communication and how it translates from the court to each child’s community, classroom, and family.

This leans into the idea of repetitive practice to improve while also accepting mistakes during the learning process. There must be constant problem-solving and opportunities to review and re-think approaches. It requires teammates and communication to accomplish a common goal, and a character-driven approach results in learning opportunities and growth. "We have taken this approach since the concept originated in 2010 and our first programs in 2012. A more modern comparison is it’s a very "Ted Lasso" approach to sports.", says Shaun.

 Crossover continues to impact over 400 students each summer. The students learn about Crossover’s five pillars of success in leadership, gender equity, character, teamwork, and communication and how to apply it towards their academics, community, households, individual skills, and teamwork.

Shaun expresses that, "Generational change takes time. There are no magic solutions. Creating new pathways, educational learnings, and opportunities takes time. Hope is only a moment unless it is followed by support and an environment that supports and values ideas that challenge cultural norms."

Crossover Basketball and the Indian Diaspora

According to Shaun, launching Crossover Basketball has also led to a new way for the Indian diaspora to engage back with India. 

Shaun shares that, "Crossover Basketball offers an opportunity to step away from hotels, restaurants, relatives, expensive bar tabs and drivers and allows the diaspora to engagement with a segment of the population that is often overlooked and sometimes not even acknowledged. It allows a chance to understand India from its transition from colonial to post-colonial eras and how rare it is for families to immigrate for better opportunities. It creates a more rounded vision of our heritage, our culture, and the vast difference between the haves and have-nots (again, 84% of Indians live on less than $210 US/month). Engaging and meeting India from where one is vs. through the lens of our parents/grandparents shifts the dynamic and understanding of the experience. It goes beyond the splash of extravagance at Diwali, Holi, and weddings and into a very real, very human element of understanding."

Crossover’s Hoops Creating Hope program has worked over the years through summer engagement programs with volunteers who are high school and college athletes, high school and college educators and coaches, and even two WNBA players with the support of the WNBA Players Association. For now, Crossover Basketball's work has been focused in South India - in Chennai and Hyderabad. 

Hoops Creating Hope
Crossover’s Hoops Creating Hope program

2024 sees Crossover adding new partners in Nike and the Institute of Sport and Social Justice and launching our program in Bangalore for the first time in April and again later in the summer.

For those who want to learn more about Crossover Basketball, the non profit organization invites you all to the Crossover Madness celebration on March 21, 2024 at the following location:

You can learn more about Crossover Basketball here: 



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