Stars Unite To Promote Leadership and HIV/AIDS Education With European Youth
Posted May 23 2003 5:16PM
The NBA and FIBA join with NIKE for third annual Basketball without Borders Camp
NEW YORK, May 22-- San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (France), Memphis Grizzlies forward Pau Gasol (Spain), Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko (Russia) and Los Angeles Clippers forward Marko Jaric (Serbia and Montenegro) will serve as coaches for the third annual Basketball without Borders, which will take place June 28-July 1 in Treviso, Italy, it was announced today by the National Basketball Association.
“Basketball's global appeal, particularly among young people is now becoming evident to everyone,” said Ralph E. Greene, Jr., Global Director, NIKE Basketball. “The excitement of the game as showcased in the NBA and enjoyed by millions worldwide will only continue to grow. NIKE has had a lead role in global basketball for years and is pleased to work with the NBA for Basketball without Borders to spread this excitement and give young European players the chance to play and improve.”
The Fédération Internationale de Basketball(FIBA) will select the young players based on their basketball skills, leadership abilities and dedication to the sport of basketball.
“We are very proud to partner again with the NBA for the third edition of Basketball without Borders after two very successful camps in Turkey and Italy,” said FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann. “The previous camps have proven to be an excellent occasion of young players to get together with their idols. No matter which country they came from basketball is a universal language.”
The pan-European campers will be divided into four teams (Grizzlies, Spurs, Jazz and Clippers) without regard to their nationality. The young players and staff will be outfitted by Champion USA, the exclusive on-court apparel partner of the NBA in Europe, with footwear provided by NIKE. Each of the NBA players serving as coaches will be assigned to one of the camp teams and will work with the campers individually. Marin Sedlacek, a FIBA instructor who has conducted camps all over the world, will return for the third consecutive year as the camp’s Director.
In addition to basketball instruction and competition, the young players will share living quarters with their new teammates, eat three meals a day together and participate in a seminar, led by UNICEF intended to promote leadership, support education and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS education and prevention.
“Basketball without Borders is only the beginning of a rewarding global alliance between the NBA and UNICEF," said Charles J. Lyons, president of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “UNICEF is delighted that the NBA has committed themselves to using the power of sport in a variety of ways, from helping children affected by war to educating children about HIV/AIDS.”
The basketball camp will return to La Ghirada in Treviso, Italy, the camp’s host in 2001. Owned and operated by co-sponsor United Colors of Benetton, which owns the Treviso basketball team of the Italian league, La Ghirada is the team’s state-of-the-art basketball facility, one hour north of Venice.
“We are very proud to host this important event again and to work together with FIBA, NIKE and the NBA,” said United Colors of Benetton CEO Gilberto Benetton. “Nothing could be more important than this basketball camp where there are no differences or boundaries and the common bond is basketball.”
Basketball without Borders also marks a significant return for Jaric, Nachbar and Tskitishvili, all of whom played with professional teams in Italy before joining the NBA last season. Jaric played for Kinder Bologna and Nachbar and Tskitishvili were teammates with Benetton Treviso. The other three NBA players also first started their professional basketball careers in Europe. Gasol played for F.C Barcelona in Spain, Parker spent two years with Paris Basket Racing in France and Kirilenko played with CSKA Moscow in Russia.
The inaugural Basketball without Borders took place in July 2001, with Vlade Divac of the Sacramento Kings, Toni Kukoc of the Milwaukee Bucks and five other NBA players from the former Yugoslavia uniting to work with 50 children from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYRO Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia Montenegro. Last year’s Basketball without Borders brought together 50 young Greek and Turkish players in Istanbul, Turkey and was led by the Sacramento Kings’ Hedo Turkoglu and Peja Stojakovic.
“This will be a great experience for all of us especially the young basketball players, who remind me of myself at that age and my playing days in Europe,” said Gasol.
“With players from across Europe, this camp will bring together a variety of different cultures and languages and I am very proud to be taking part,” said Parker. “I hope to teach them everything I have learned so far while learning from people at the camp as well.”
“I am very happy to be taking part in this event that brings together children from across Europe,” said Jaric. “I have great memories from my playing days in Italy, and I would like to share my experiences with the young players. I know they can learn a great deal from me and from the other basketball players taking part.”