NBA Players Unite for Africa 100 Camp
Posted Sep 3 2003 9:47AM
NBA, FIBA and BSA bring together top 100 African basketball players
NEW YORK, Aug. 14 -- A contingent of NBA players from Africa, including New Jersey Nets center Dikembe Mutombo (Congo), will serve as coaches for the Africa 100 Camp, the first of its kind in Africa to incorporate basketball instruction and educational programs addressing important social issues for the top 100 young players from more than 19 African countries, it was announced today by the National Basketball Association (NBA), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and Basketball South Africa (BSA).
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 -- South Africa's national HIV prevention program for youth -- the seminars will promote leadership and healthy living, HIV/AIDS and drug abuse education and prevention.
"Basketball has the ability to bring people together and address important social issues at the same time," said NBA Commissioner David Stern. "The Africa 100 Camp is an example of basketball's reach and the good that can come from gathering participants for learning on and off the court. Together with FIBA and basketball federations around the world, we will continue international camps and clinics to grow our game and contribute to improving life for the participants."
The camp, which will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sept. 2-7, at the American International School of Johannesburg, is co-organized by the NBA, FIBA and BSA and sponsored by Barry Callebaut, Dia, Metro FM, Molten, Reebok, South African Airways, Spalding and Sprite.
Joining Mutombo at the camp will be Portland Trail Blazers center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje (Cameroon), Cleveland Cavaliers center DeSagana Diop (Senegal), Toronto Raptors center Mamadou N'diaye (Senegal), Detroit Pistons forward-guard Michael Curry, and Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Alex English.
Amadou Fall, director of scouting for the Dallas Mavericks and Sam Vincent, head coach of the South African national team, will be the camp's directors.
"Africa 100 Camp is designed to promote, expose and strengthen the culture of basketball among the continent's youth," said Vusi Mgobhozi, President, Basketball South Africa. "To build a sustainable interest in the game, this vision aims at continuing the interest in the sport throughout the African continent. It offers an opportunity to advance their playing skill in basketball as well as open doors to further formal education. Africa 100 Camp aims to develop the wholesome character of the campers.
"It is now Africa's time, let us stand together, fight HIV/AIDS and bring peace to Africa through the sport of basketball already in existence in 53 nations across Africa."
The participants from across 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 also will donate NBA products, such as basketballs, rims and nets, to local basketball federations.
"The Africa 100 Camp is a wonderful opportunity for FIBA and the NBA to bring together 100 young promising African talents, who will have a great opportunity to learn from each other and from the experts that FIBA and the NBA will provide for the camp," said FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann. "The camp will help the participants improve their basketball skills and to prepare them for the moment when they will hopefully be called to represent their respective country on a basketball court in an international competition.
"We are thankful for the great support that the NBA, Basketball South Africa, FIBA-Africa and all other national federations that have given to this project, which perfectly matches FIBA's ambition to promote and develop basketball in Africa and to raise its chances of success at the international level."
One of the highlights of the camp will be the unveiling of a Reading and Learning Center at the Ithuteng Trust, a local school for troubled youth, on Sept. 4. This Reading and Learning Center, the first to be open outside of North America, will provide thousands of donated books, resource guides, and materials to children attending the Ithuteng Trust each day.
In addition, the Reading and Learning Center will include 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. Lanier and NBA players will also take part in two Read to Achieve reading events in South Africa, where they will sign autographs, answer questions and read to youngsters.
"This is a great opportunity to bring our Read to Achieve Message beyond U.S. borders," said Lanier, who is also a program spokesperson and will be part of the center's unveiling. "We've seen the difference it makes and we know that this center will touch kids lives for years to come."
As a part of the NBA's Read to Achieve program, the NBA has teamed with Dell, Scholastic, and its teams to create Reading and Learning Centers that will provide access to reading materials and technology for young people. To date, the NBA and its teams have created 62 Reading and Learning Centers and 70 Reading Corners to enhance local reading programs across North America.
This will mark the NBA's third trip to South Africa. In 1993, Stern, Mutombo and New Jersey Nets center Alonzo Mourning were part of an NBA contingent of players, officials, coaches, and legends that traveled to Kenya, Zaire, and 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.
Since its founding in 1946, the NBA has truly become a global phenomenon that transcends national boundaries. With 29 teams in the United States and Canada, NBA games and related programming are broadcast to 212 countries in 42 languages; they are one of the largest suppliers of sports television and Internet programming in the world. The NBA is a recognized leader in global sports marketing with 13 offices around the world.
At the end of the 2002-03 NBA regular season, the League featured 65 international players from 34 countries and territories on team rosters, resulting in global media coverage and increasing fan interest worldwide. The NBA works with its strong roster of global marketing partners to create integrated marketing platforms for many of the world's most recognizable brands.