Skip to main content
Main content
NBA news

US sends basketball players, coaches to Myanmar


Posted Aug 26, 2012 9:44 AM

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- The U.S. has appointed an ambassador to Myanmar and helped bring in American businessmen keen on doing business in the rapidly reforming Southeast Asian nation. Now, Washington is sending professional basketball players and coaches in a bid to boost cultural ties.

The U.S. Embassy said Sunday that four "sports envoys" will be in the country this week as part of a U.S. State Department-sponsored program "to emphasize the importance of academics, cooperation, and respect for diversity."

The group will conduct several sports workshops with local youth before leaving Friday. Three of the envoys arrived this weekend and the last one is due to fly into Yangon later Sunday.

The group includes Charlotte Bobcats basketball team manager Richard Cho, a Myanmar native who migrated to the United States. Also traveling are Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Darvin Ham, former Women's National Basketball Association player Allison Feaster and former NBA player Marty Conlon.

Buddhist-dominated Myanmar has a national basketball team and courts are a common fixture at private and missionary schools. But the sport's popularity pales in comparison to soccer.

President Thein Sein's government has embarked on a series of dramatic economic and political reforms since a long-ruling military junta ceded power last year, prompting the United States and other Western powers to lift sanctions. Rights groups, however, say corruption and human rights abuses are still rife and bloody skirmishes between the army and rebels continues in northern Kachin state.

SEARCH NEWS
LATEST VIDEOS
photoNBA Nation 2014: Sacramento
Catch all the action from NBA Nation presented by Sprint in Sacramento. Visit nba.com/video for more highlights.
photoBeliever Stories: Realizing the Dream, Being Drafted
2014 draftees discuss being drafted and realizing their childhood dreams.
photoOff the Radar Performance: Isaiah Canaan
Isaiah Canaan scores 15 points and dishes out six assists in Monday's loss to Sacramento.
photoThe Starters: Best of Summer League
Check out the best moments from The Starters in the Vegas Summer League.
photoThe Starters: Ray McCallum Interview
Ray McCallum joins the guys for a staring contest, cup stacking and, of course, basketball conversation.