New York and Washington, D.C. -- The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Special Olympics today announced the first-ever NBA Cares Special Olympics Unity Sports Basketball Game, which will take place as part of the 2012 NBA All-Star weekend festivities in Orlando. With support from The Coca-Cola Company, the game will tip off on Center Court at NBA All-Star Jam Session on Sunday, Feb. 26, and will feature 12 Special Olympics athletes from across the country, along with NBA Legends Clyde Drexler, Chris Mullin, Dikembe Mutombo and Sam Perkins, current WNBA players, and celebrities. NBA stars Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker and Derrick Williams will also participate in the event.
The exhibition game will combine athletes with and without intellectual disabilities as teammates to showcase the power of Special Olympics' Unified Sports® program, which helps unite communities and foster an environment of acceptance and inclusion. In addition, as part of the NBA Cares All-Star Community Caravan, NBA/WNBA legends and players will host a clinic for local Special Olympics athletes at Jam Session immediately following the game.
"The NBA is excited to expand our longtime partnership with Special Olympics by hosting the Unity Sports basketball game as part of our NBA All-Star festivities," said NBA Senior Vice President of Community Relations Todd Jacobson. "The NBA Cares Special Olympics Unity Sports Basketball Game is about having fun, promoting fitness and bringing people together."
"We are proud to have this unique opportunity to show the world the incredible talents of our Special Olympics athletes, playing alongside basketball legends from the NBA and WNBA," said Peter Wheeler, Special Olympics' Chief Officer of Strategic Properties. "This is another great moment in our long-standing partnership with the NBA and we hope that this Unity Sports basketball game shows NBA fans the power of sports to unite us all."
NBA Cares Special Olympics Unity Sports Basketball Game roster:
These 12 Special Olympics athletes and their families will be treated to an unforgettable NBA All-Star experience including dinner with an NBA legend, in-arena recognition at NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm, and tickets to the NBA All-Star Game.
The NBA's global partnership with Special Olympics began more than 30 years ago when the league helped to introduce basketball as a new sport to the organization. The NBA has since provided sponsorship to Special Olympics basketball tournaments, created public service announcements featuring NBA players, and participated in major Special Olympics events. In addition, the NBA's Basketball without Borders program has featured international clinics for Special Olympics athletes in China, Puerto Rico, Russia, France, Greece, Italy, Brazil, Spain, and Mexico.
NBA Cares is the league's social responsibility program that builds on the NBA's long tradition of addressing important social issues in the United States and around the world. Through this umbrella program, the NBA, its teams and players have donated than $175 million to charity, completed more than 1.8 million hours of hands-on community service, and created more than 675 places where kids and families can live, learn, or play, in 22 countries and territories on five continents. In addition, this year the league launched the NBA Cares Community Caravan, a year-round community and fan engagement program, through which the NBA family will reach more than 10,000 schools and community centers and touch the lives of more than 15 million fans. NBA Cares works with internationally recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes, including: KaBOOM!, Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, UNICEF, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.7 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics now take place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities all over the world, from community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood's backyard to World Games. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics; fb.com/specialolympics; youtube.com/specialolympicshq, and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.
CONTACTS: Madeline Wehle Crandall, NBA Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 407-8284; Mandy Murphy, Special Olympics, email@example.com or (202) 824-0227
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