Wednesday, 11 April 2007 00:25

MD AW Sporting

Written by  Jonathon Denga
{pp}Led by Houston Rockets center Dikembe Mutombo, a host of NBA stars and coaching personnel will return to Johannesburg, South Africa Basketball Sept. 5-9 at the American International School of Johannesburg for the fifth edition of Basketball without Borders Africa, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and Basketball South Africa (BSA) announced today. The NBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program uses the sport of basketball to influence positive social change and features dozens of current and former NBA players and team personnel as camp coaches.
“Basketball without Borders is well established as the NBA’s innovative global program and further demonstrates the commitment of the NBA family, its teams, players and coaching staff in reaching out to communities worldwide through NBA Cares,” said Kathleen Behrens, Senior Vice President, NBA Community & Player Programs. “Together with FIBA and our marketing partners’ commitment to social responsibility, these camps exemplify the concept of using basketball to achieve a greater goal of influencing social change around the world and we are proud to be returning to Africa for the fifth time.”

“Working as a camp coach for last year’s Basketball without Borders Africa was a life-changing experience for me,” said Chicago Bulls guard Chris Duhon, who will participate this year in the Asia and Europe camps. “Every NBA player should take the opportunity to participate in this program as it not only builds hope and aspirations for the young campers but touches the lives of so many people and communities in need.”

Congo-native Dikembe Mutombo, who earlier this year received special recognition during the State of the Union Address in the United States for his charitable work, will make his fifth consecutive trip to South Africa. “Basketball without Borders encapsulates the best of what the NBA can offer in terms of using its players as positive role models while giving back to communities in need,” said Mutombo. “It is a privilege – and a testament to the success of the program - that we are once again returning to South Africa.”

BWB Marketing partners include South African Airways, Spalding and Sprite. The camp will unite the top young basketball players (ages 19 & under) from across the region to take part in basketball instruction and competition. Camp participants are selected by FIBA and participating basketball federations based on their basketball skills, leadership abilities and dedication to the sport. To promote friendship and diversity, the campers will be divided into teams without regard to race and nationality. They also will participate in motivational and life-skills seminars that promote education, leadership, character development, and healthy living with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

The camp will also be highlighted by extensive community outreach with efforts culminating in an NBA Cares Legacy Project. Through Basketball without Borders, the NBA and its partners have created 26 places around the world where families and children can live, learn or play.

“FIBA is proud of its successful partnership with the NBA for Basketball without Borders, an ambitious program that helps to promote the sport of basketball,” said FIBA Development Director Zoran Radovi?. “We are thrilled to return to South Africa, where they have graciously hosted the camp since 2003.  We are proud to work again with Mutombo, who has played a decisive role in making this project a success from the start. He will be joined by a myriad of talented and renowned players and coaches who will act as exceptional camp instructors.”

Mutombo will be joined by San Antonio Spurs forward Bruce Bowen, Charlotte Bobcats center Primoz Brezec, Atlanta Hawks guard-forward Josh Childress, Orlando Magic forward Pat Garrity, Los Angeles Clippers center Chris Kaman, Phoenix Suns center Sean Marks, Memphis Grizzlies forward Mike Miller, New Jersey Nets forward Bostjan Nachbar, Charlotte Bobcats forward Emeka Okafor, New York Knicks forward Malik Rose, and former NBA players Steve Smith and Jim Jackson, who will be making his third visit to South Africa.

Other NBA participants include Bill Branch (Denver Nuggets), Hank Egan (Cleveland Cavaliers), Harold Ellis (Atlanta Hawks), Alex English (Toronto Raptors), David Griffin (Phoenix Suns), Melvin Hunt (Cleveland Cavaliers), B.J. Johnson (Houston Rockets), Tony Ronzone (Detroit Pistons), Frank Ross (Charlotte Bobcats), Chris Wallace (Boston Celtics) and Joe Sharpe (Charlotte Bobcats). Lance Blanks (Cleveland Cavaliers), R.C. Buford (San Antonio Spurs), Amadou Fall (Dallas Mavericks), Joe Toumou (Scout) and Masai Ujiri (Denver Nuggets) will once again oversee the camp as camp directors.

“It is with great satisfaction and pride that our country and our National Federation welcome Basketball without Borders Africa for the fifth consecutive year,” said Vusi Mgobhozi, Executive President, Basketball South Africa. “This project provides a unique learning opportunity to the top talented players of the African continent, both on and off the court.”

Since the inaugural camp in 2001, Basketball without Borders has expanded to nine countries and territories on five continents. The program has featured more than 160 NBA players, coaches and team personnel from 30 different teams as camp coaches and mentors for more than 1,000 young athletes from 100 countries and territories. This year, more than 65 members of the NBA family will take part, including more than 30 current and former NBA coaches and team personnel.

The NBA family and the campers have traveled more than 85 million miles and logged more than one million hours of community service participating in Basketball without Borders. In addition, the program has reached countless others through its community outreach efforts in each region.

Last year, community outreach efforts included the opening of a new US Embassy-funded dining hall in Pimville and a NBA Legacy Project consisting of a new kitchen, dining hall and bathroom facility at the Soweto Kliptown Youth Trust (SKY). NBA Players also made an emotional visit to Cotlands, a pediatric AIDS hospice for children in the suburbs of Johannesburg.

The inaugural Basketball without Borders took place in Europe in July 2001. NBA legends Vlade Divac and Toni Kukoc, together with five other NBA players from the former Yugoslavia, re-united to work with 50 children from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia and Montenegro at La Ghirada in Treviso, Italy. In addition to Africa, Basketball without Borders Asia will return to Shanghai, China July 5-8, Basketball without Borders Europe will take place for the first time in Paris, France Aug. 6-10 and Basketball without Borders Americas will take place July 31-Aug. 3 in São Paulo, Brazil.

The following is a tentative list of the NBA participants scheduled to participate in Basketball without Borders Africa 2007:
Bruce Bowen (San Antonio Spurs)
Primoz Brezec (Charlotte Bobcats)
Josh Childress (Atlanta Hawks)
Pat Garrity (Orlando Magic)
Jim Jackson and Steve Smith (Former NBA Players) Chris Kaman (L.A. Clippers) Sean Marks (Phoenix Suns) Mike Miller (Memphis Grizzlies) Dikembe Mutombo (Houston Rockets) Bostjan Nachbar (New Jersey Nets) Emeka Okafor (Charlotte Bobcats) Malik Rose (New York Knicks)

Contact Details:
Helen Wong, NBA International Communications, (212) 407-8299, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Jennie Brice, NBA Europe, +33 (0)1 53 53 62 08, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Marcos Beltrá, FIBA Head of Press Operations, +41 (22) 545 00 00, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Jonathon Denga, AW Sporting, +27 83 260 4480, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Published in Sports Range

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