- NBA LEAGUE PASS
Jerome 'Slim' Du Plooy is a South African television presenter of The Bball Show (Saturdays on SABC1). A top media and radio studies graduate from Boston Media House in Johannesburg, South Africa, Slim is also a former radio DJ and an experienced MC at NBA and basketball events, which include the NBA All-Star Jam Session (U.S.) and Basketball without Borders Africa (South Africa). Passionate about the game of basketball and the NBA, Slim is bringing his own perspective to the 2012-13 NBA season via his bi-weekly blog – The Slim Line.
BWB Africa Touches Lives
Back in 2005 I was this young kid running around at the Soweto Kliptown Youth (SKY), a program which the NBA funded and still has a soft spot for. SKY is a youth empowerment after school program situated in Kliptown, South Africa. With the support from the NBA, SKY saw the creation of a library and a dining hall which provides meals to two hundred children on a daily basis. The NBA coaches who participated in the Basketball without Borders Africa camp had the opportunity to visit SKY earlier this month and were touched by the conditions that the people of Kliptown are still living under. On one end they saw the five star Soweto Hotel and on the other they saw shanty homes and poverty. The coaches were greeted by loud cheers, angelic smiles and also had the opportunity to tour Kliptown.
I used to greet the NBA players, staff and coaches with that very smile despite the conditions we were living in. Prior to that point, I had always dreamt of sports changing my life, although not in the form of basketball. But when I was introduced to the NBA for the very first time in 2005, there was an instant connection. I fell in love with the beautiful game, polished up my basketball knowledge and I've been part of the NBA family ever since. Now try to imagine what a camp like this would mean to young campers coming from different parts of Africa.
The NBA and WNBA current and former players attending this year's camp in South Africa were two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng; Serge Ibaka, currently the best shot blocker in the NBA, with his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates Hasheem Thabeet and Thabo Sefolosha; Atlanta Hawks' Al Horford, Memphis Grizzlies' Jerryd Bayless; Charlotte Bobcats' Bismack Biyombo; Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving; NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo; NBA Legend Cedric Ceballos and WNBA Legend Clarisse Machanguana.
It was the first BWB Africa camp for Kyrie Irving who seemed to enjoy the experience tremendously.
"I love the kids and the energy they give despite the conditions they live in" Irving said. "I also had fun at this one school I went to in Soweto, dancing with the kids and being in the classrooms."
I was blessed to emcee my third BWB Africa All-Star Game and was impressed with Cheikh Diallo from Senegal who took home the Nike All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award. He is such a humble kid and when I spoke to him after the game he promised that he would keep working hard and try to be the best player he could be. So remember the name Cheikh Diallo because one day he could be the next Luc Mbah a Moute. And all of it because of a basketball dream which started at the Basketball without Borders Africa camp in 2013...