NBA Back in Africa For Basketball Without Borders
Posted Apr 10 2005 1:37AM
NEW YORK, March 31 – A contingent of current and former NBA players including New York Knicks center Dikembe Mutombo (Congo) and coaching personnel from 10 different NBA teams will serve as coaches for Basketball Without Borders Africa, which will take place Sept. 6-10, 2004 in Johannesburg, South Africa, it was announced today by the National Basketball Association (NBA), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and Basketball South Africa (BSA).
This will mark the NBA's fifth event in Africa. Last year, the NBA held the Africa 100 Camp in Johannesburg while the coming effort incorporates the league's Basketball Without Borders program. Since its inception in 2001, Basketball Without Borders has served as a basketball instructional camp in Europe for young people designed to promote friendship, healthy living and education through sport. This year, Basketball Without Borders will be staged in Europe (Treviso, Italy) for the fourth consecutive year and will be expanded to Africa and South America (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).
"Last year's Africa 100 Camp was a great event and I am very happy to return with the complete Basketball Without Borders program," said Mutombo, who will also take part in Basketball Without Borders Americas. "All NBA players know how important it is to contribute to your community and to your homeland and I am honored to represent the NBA at Basketball Without Borders."
In addition to basketball instruction and competition, the young players, 16-20 years of age, will share living quarters with their new teammates and participate in daily seminars featuring NBA Legend and Community Ambassador Bob Lanier. Led by LoveLife -- a major HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention program throughout South Africa -- the seminars will promote leadership and healthy living, HIV/AIDS and drug abuse education and prevention.
The U.S. Embassy in Pretoria and the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg will again partner with the NBA in activities scheduled during this year's Africa 100 Camp, including activities focused on HIV/AIDS education and prevention and other community outreach.
"We are very pleased to assist Commissioner Stern and the NBA with the Camp," says U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Cameron Hume. "Basketball is a special sport. It has been a positive influence in the lives of millions and millions of young men and women. If we can help share the sport with South Africans, we're more than happy to do that."
The American International School of Johannesburg, last year's location for the Africa 100 Camp, will again host Basketball Without Borders Africa. Co-organized by the NBA, FIBA, and BSA, the camp is sponsored by Molten, Reebok, South African Airways, Spalding and Sprite, among others.
Joining Mutombo at the camp will be Minnesota Timberwolves center Michael Olowokandi (Nigeria), Cleveland Cavaliers teammates Ruben Boumtje Boumtje (Cameroon) and DeSagana Diop (Senegal), Dallas Mavericks center Shawn Bradley, San Antonio Spurs forward Malik Rose, Portland Trail Blazers forward Zach Randolph, Knicks forward Kurt Thomas, Toronto Raptors center Chris Bosh and Raptors forward-guard Michael Curry, who is also President of the National Basketball Players Association.
In addition, NBA coaching and team personnel from 10 different NBA teams including Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars, Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Alex English and Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Donnie Nelson will coach at the camp. The camp's directors -- Dallas Mavericks Director of Scouting Amadou Fall, a native of Senegal, and Sam Vincent, head coach of the South African national team -- also headed last year's Africa 100 Camp.
"Further developing the basketball legacy, created by last year's Africa 100 camp, South Africa is proud to play host this year to Basketball Without Borders Africa," said Vusi Mgobhozi, President, Basketball South Africa. "Young Africans from all corners of this beautiful continent will once again be privileged to share views and talk about their political differences, social and cultural diversities through the sport of basketball. Basketball South Africa is proud to be in partnership with NBA, FIBA and the rest of the sponsors and to work with the South African government and the macro sport bodies to bring this great basketball event to South Africa".
The participants from more than 20 countries in Africa, including Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Lesotho, Mozambique, Senegal, and Nigeria will be selected for their basketball skills, leadership abilities and dedication to the sport of basketball by FIBA, in conjunction with participating basketball federations. The NBA and FIBA will donate products, such as basketballs, rims and nets to local basketball federations.
"We are very grateful to the individuals and entities such as BSA, South African Airways, NOCSA and all the sponsors who have met the challenge to realize this camp once again with Basketball Without Borders Africa," said FIBA International Relations and Development Manager Anicet Lavodrama. "Through FIBA'S partnership with the NBA, we will provide the best teaching that will foster progress, knowledge, commitment and leadership for young talented basketball players and will bring African basketball to a higher level. Basketball Without Borders Africa is an excellent showcase for the talent and passion for basketball that exists across Africa."
In addition to the on-court action, Basketball Without Borders Africa also will feature extensive community outreach including a return visit on Thursday, September 9 to Ithuteng Trust, a Youth Empowerment Program founded in 1990 by Jackey "Mama Jackey" Maarohanye, in Pimville, South Africa. Most of the students come from extremely poverty-stricken families and the majority are orphans due to political violence, crime and AIDS. Last year, the NBA opened a Reading and Learning Center at Ithuteng Trust, the first center opened outside of the United States and Canada. NBA players and coaches also will take part in Read to Achieve events and Basketball and Books Clinics throughout the area.
The Reading and Learning Center included a donation of desktop computers, printers, servers, and educational software from Dell, as part of their Dell Education initiative, as well as multimedia equipment, photos and educational posters provided by the NBA. As a part of the NBA's Read to Achieve program, the NBA and its teams have created Reading and Learning Centers that provide access to reading materials and technology for young people. To date, the NBA and its teams have created 75 Reading and Learning Centers and more than 100 Reading Corners to enhance local reading programs across North America.
"Basketball Without Borders is a perfect complement of community outreach and basketball development," said NBA Legend and Community Ambassador Bob Lanier. "NBA players have an extraordinary ability and commitment to touch the lives of young fans all over the world and we are looking forward to returning to Africa so that we can touch the lives of more people in need."
The camp will open to hundreds of fans across Johannesburg on Friday, Sept. 10, when the event culminates with an All-Star Game, Slam Dunk competition and awards ceremony at Wembley Arena, starting at 6 p.m.
Previous trips to Africa included a visit in September 1993 when Mutombo visited Kenya, Zambia and South Africa with an assortment of officials and coaches including Alex English and Bob McAdoo. In August of 1994, Stern accompanied Mutombo and NBA All-Stars Alonzo Mourning and Patrick Ewing, who were part of an NBA contingent of players, officials, coaches, and legends that traveled to South Africa for basketball youth clinics. One of the highlights of the group’s tour of South Africa was a meeting with Nelson Mandela, former President of the African National Congress and former President of South Africa, who spent 27 years in prison. In 1997, Mutombo and Mwadi Mabika of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks were the headliners on a special tour to South Africa where the NBA conducted clinics in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.