By Ketrell Marshall
January 20, 2013
Charlotte Bobcats General Manager Rich Cho believes in crossing borders and unifying cultures through the game of basketball. As part of this belief, Cho conducted a clinic for a group of youth basketball players and coaches from his native Burma on January 18, 2013 at the Time Warner Cable Arena®.
“Sports really transcends across a lot of different mediums,” Cho explained. “Using basketball as a way of cultural diplomacy to bridge the gap between America and Burma, I think it’s a great program.”
The NBA partnered with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) on a Sports Visitor program for the 12 Burmese youth basketball players and two coaches.
The clinic was largely led by NBA representatives Marty Conlon and Becky Bonner. They were teaching all aspects of basketball, emphasizing teamwork and the importance of fundamentals. The young talents were introduced to the three-man weave, offensive plays and defensive drills.
“This is a great opportunity for them to learn more about the sport and bring it back to their country with the knowledge they learned here.” said Bonner. Cho, who was born in Burma, journeyed to the country in August 2012 as part of a State Department Sports Envoy program that facilitated selecting the participants heading to the United States.
"We had a great time in Burma last August introducing and growing the game of basketball," said Cho, who also hosted a watch party for the visitors at his house when the Cats took on the Magic on January 18 in Orlando. "As a Burmese-born immigrant to the U.S., it means a lot to me to be able to be a part of this program. I am excited to have these kids experience an NBA game."
The group, which arrived in the U.S. on January 7, also visited Washington, D.C., before coming to Charlotte, where they attended Saturday’s game when the Bobcats hosted the Sacramento Kings.