RED CLAWS HEAD COACH AUSTIN AINGE'S TRIP TO MEXICO CITY
WITH BASKETBALL WITHOUT BORDER

Basketball without Borders is the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development program that uses the sport to create positive social change in the areas of education, health and wellness. The 2009 camps was held in Beijing, China, Mexico City, Mexico and Johannesburg, South Africa and will feature NBA players and coaches training the top players ages 19 and under from each country. Ainge will join players Samuel Dalembert (Philadelphia 76ers), Willie Green (Philadelphia 76ers), Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks), and Eduardo Najera (NJ Nets) and coaches Kenny Atkinson (NY Knicks), Kelvin Sampson (Milwaukee Bucks) and Jin 2008. Ainge, who spent two years in the Dominican Republic, is fluent in Spanish.


Thursday, August 6:

Basketball without Borders Americas 2009 began today in Mexico City with a visit to the Casa YMCA para Menores Metropolitanos (YMCA Home for Urban Youth). Casa YMCA has served orphaned, abandoned, abused and street children since 1992 with the mission to provide them with an education and a safe place to live. The children of Casa YMCA greeted the NBA players and coaches by singing the traditional Mexican song El Cielito Lindo. Eager to show their home off, the children led the NBA group on a tour of the facility showcasing their dorms, classrooms and workshop where they create arts and crafts. The group gathered for a ribbon cutting for the new computer center equipped with six computers donated by Hewlett Packard (HP). Afterwards the players and coaches played traditional Mexican board games with the children, tested out the new computers and even shot hoops in the courtyard. After the community event, it was time to head to the gym to tip-off the basketball action. The campers received their Nike gear before facing off against each other in the EA Sports Gaming Tournament. Brazilian camper Olintho Pereira Silva faced NBA Player Willie Green in the final, but Green was victorious, showing he is just as good at virtual basketball as he is on the hardwood. Camp Director Gersson Rosas and Green then met with the campers to provide a camp overview and cover the rules for the next four days. The NBA coaches had their first look at the camper talent during the evaluation scrimmages in the afternoon. Coaches drafted their teams tonight and will coach those teams for the duration of the camp. NBA players, coaches, staff and BWB marketing partners came together at the end of the day to celebrate the start of the camp at a Welcome Reception recognizing all the key people that were integral in planning this year’s camp.


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Friday, August 7:

NBA players, coaches and VIP guests were on hand to welcome the campers and to thank all of those who were integral in the development of this camp such as FIBA, CONADE, and BWB marketing partners. Over 70 media from major Mexican and international outlets were in attendance to cover the program and participate in a photo and interview session. Afterwards, the campers were divided up into the teams they were drafted to last night: 76ers, Hawks, Nets and Rockets. The teams participated in a round of morning skills sessions that covered post-moves, defensive footwork, passing and controlled ball handling. Both the campers and the NBA players and coaches were excited to get the basketball action started. The day was broken up by a NBA Cares and Special Olympics clinic for 80 athletes from across three Mexican states. All of the NBA players and coaches ran skill stations for the athletes from the Special Olympics Mexico, and the clinic closed with a shoot-out competition between two groups of 40 athletes. At the close of the clinic, everyone came together for a group photo and Al Horford from the Atlanta Hawks presented the athletes with an autographed ball and posters. The afternoon’s life skills session for the campers featured an interactive seminar to address health and wellness led by Mark Connolly from UNICEF Latin America, MTV Mexico VJ Ilana Sod, and Sam Dalembert from the 76ers. The program covered existing myths about HIV/AIDS and the 10 skills for life needed to prevent HIV/AIDS. After the life skills seminar, the campers reported back to the gym to have their first practice session with their coaches and teammates, where they quickly learned the offensive plays and defensive strategy they will use in their team competitions throughout the camp. It looks like there are going to be some competitive match-ups over the next three days.


Saturday, August 8:

Day three of Basketball without Borders Americas 2009 started off bright and early with morning skills stations. Campers were broken down by position and ran through drills covering skills specific to where they play on the floor. Willie Green from the Philadelphia 76ers and Al Horford from the Atlanta Hawks coached the guards, with Green teaching offense and Horford covering defense. Sam Dalembert from the Philadelphia 76ers and Eduardo Najera from the New Jersy Nets teamed up to train the forwards and centers. The teams were together for afternoon practice sessions and controlled scrimmages to prepare for the second round of team games. Basketball without Borders Americas community outreach for today took place at Cauce Ciudadano Community Center, a youth program that address Mexico’s increasing problem with youth violence. Created by a former gang member, Carlos Cruz, Cauce Ciudadano promotes a model of violence prevention that identifies influential gang leaders and helps create new roles for them as nonviolent role models in their schools. The NBA players and coaches joined UNICEF and MTV vee-jay Ilana Sod for group discussions with some of the Cauce Ciudando youth covering a range of topics from ever growing challenge of drugs and drug related violence to how basketball and teamwork can be a vehicle to connect to a community and affect change.


Sunday, August 9:  
Before the BWB Americas campers took the floor this morning, the NBA players and coaches led a special clinic for eight 16-&-under girls' national teams who were on-site at CNAR training for the FIBA Americas U16 Championship next week. Teams from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the USA were divided up by position to run through drills with the BWB Americas coaches. The final two games of BWB Americas team competition were played before the All-Star action got started. While the campers were attending a Life Skills seminar on the importance of leadership, BWB Coach Kelvin Sampson ran a coaching clinic for a group of Mexican basketball coaches from CONADE, the Mexican government's sport ministry. Following the CONADE clinic, 30 athletes from the local area played a wheelchair basketball exhibition game on the main court. When the All-Star rosters were announced, Argentina had the strongest representation with four All-Stars. Brazil, Canada and Uruguay each had three. Team Rojo, coached by Kelvin Sampson, Austin Ainge, Eduardo Najera and Sam Dalembert were the 53-38 victors over Team Blanco, coached by Jack Sikma, Kenny Atkinson, Al Horford and Willie Green. After the All-Star game presented by Nike, there was an awards presentation.Before heading back to their dorms, Rich Sheubrooks of Nike gave closing remarks commending the players on their dedication to the sport and reminding them that "open minds open doors."