Landmark Basketball Without Borders, Africa Tips Off In Johannesburg

The 13th edition of Basketball without Borders Africa tipped off under blue skies in Johannesburg, South Africa. Exceptionally, this year’s camp leads up to the NBA’s first game in Africa set to take place on Aug. 1 featuring a Team Africa vs. Team World format.

The top 59 young players from across Africa born in 1998 converged in Johannesburg for the four-day camp. BWB provides a unique opportunity for the campers to learn directly from NBA players, legends and coaches and to compete against the best players from the continent.

The day began with a camp orientation session featuring a Life Skills seminar in partnership with Hoops 4 Hope (H4H), now in their sixth year with the program, which uses interactive basketball activities to focus on HIV/AIDS prevention and education, leadership, character development and gender equity.

Next on the schedule was a press conference to officially tip-off the event where the participating players, legends and coaches were introduced to the campers, assembled media and guests. Speakers, including executives from FIBA, NBA teams and the Ministry of Sport in South Africa welcomed the players who were led by Team World captain and eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers; U.S.) and Team Africa captain and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng (Miami Heat; born in South Sudan). Campers can also expect to learn from players like Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece; parents from Nigeria), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets; France; parent from Cameroon), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards; U.S.), former BWB camper Bismack Biyombo (Toronto Raptors; Democratic Republic of the Congo), 2015 NBA Champion Festus Ezeli (Golden State Warriors; Nigeria), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder; Congo), and Evan Turner (Boston Celtics; U.S.) among others.

NBA/FIBA coaches and general managers will also participate, including 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets Coach Lionel Hollins, Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King, San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich and Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens. San Antonio Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford and Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri will be the camp directors.

Activity on the court then got underway in earnest with positional skill development, followed by evaluation scrimmages. When asked how the sessions went, Wizards guard Bradley Beal said “It was definitely fun to be able to coach and teach these kids. I love how they are so competitive and willing to learn. It just shows how good of an impact basketball really has on kids.”

Next was a Jr. NBA clinic for 80 local boys and girls including a series of basketball drills led by NBA players, NBA and WNBA legends and NBA coaches which focused on developing their on-court skills and teaching the values of the game.

The first day concluded with players and coaches taking advantage of a visit to the Apartheid Museum, which focuses on South Africa’s struggle against a racist regime as well as the heroes who fought against it. “It was breathtaking,” said Celtics guard Evan Turner. “To see what South Africa went through just to get freedom and equality was amazing. It was incredible to watch film and see photos of what they experienced, so I am really glad I had a chance to be a part of that.”
  • Basketball Without Borders Asia
    Melbourne, Australia: June 23-26
  • Basketball without Borders Europe
    Lohja, Finland: Sept. 7-10
  • Basketball without Borders Africa
    Luanda, Angola: Aug 31-Sept 3