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Jerryd Bayless participates in Basketball Without Borders - Africa

Basketball Without Borders Africa participants
NBAE/Getty Images

The 11th Annual Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa camp tipped off at King Edward VII School in Johannesburg, South Africa on Thursday, August 29. It is the first visit from Jerryd Bayless, Bismack Biyombo, Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, and Clarice Machanguana and a consecutive BWB camp for Luol Deng, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha and Dikembe Mutombo.

The four-day camp officially started with a press conference held on the main court where Amadou Gallo Fall, NBA Vice President for Development – Africa, introduced current and former NBA and WNBA players and coaches. Fall especially welcomed Adam Silver, NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, visiting South Africa for the first time. The Deputy Commissioner extended a warm welcome to all invited guests and emphasized NBA’s commitment to Basketball without Borders and the African continent.

The 60 young African players participating in the camp took part in a life skills seminar hosted by Amadou Gallo Fall, Masai Ujiri and Thabo Sefolosha. The campers had an opportunity to learn about challenges off the court as well as recognize the importance of discipline and education.

The morning session closed with the players divided into groups working on the fundamentals of the game and holding scrimmages. Meanwhile, the highlight of the day came in the afternoon when NBA and WNBA players, coaches and legends hosted Special Olympics for over 100 youth at the school. Dikembe Mutombo welcomed all the participants and accompanied by Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka, Hasheem Thabeet and Clarise Machanguana, among others, encouraged the young players to participate.

bayless-bwb-130902-630.jpg Day 2: Africa, We are here!

The second day of the Basketball without Borders Africa camp started with a life skills seminar interacting with elite South African female players aged 18 and younger at the BWB Girls’ Camp. Life skills seminars, conducted in partnership with UNICEF and Hoops 4 Hope, are an integral part of the BWB Africa curriculum, reinforcing the importance to teamwork, leadership, and dedication.

Following the seminar, the campers were divided into teams and took part in a 90-minute skills development session. The current and former NBA coaches and players worked with the young players setting up six stations where the youngsters had an opportunity to practice basketball fundamentals as well as learn ball handling skills.

While the campers headed back to the basketball courts after lunch, Adam Silver, NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, and Amadou Gallo Fall, NBA Vice President for Development – Africa, accompanied by the NBA and WNBA players and legends, visited the SOS Children’s Village in Ennerdale, south of Johannesburg. The village consists of 16 family houses and is a home to a group 158 children. Established in 1983, the village has an SOS Kindergarten offering pre-school education as well as provides the local community members with an opportunity to learn new skills enabling them to generate incomes for their own families. As a part of the BWB and NBA Cares initiative, the NBA provided furniture and home appliances for one of the houses whilst the NBA and WNBA players and legends had a chance to visit and spend time with some of the families living in the village.

The second day also marked a tip-off of the NBA Youth Camp hosted at St John’s College. Close to 60 South African children between 10-18 years of age will have an opportunity to learn from and spend time with NBA coaches and players over the next two days. The NBA hosts the Youth Camp in Johannesburg, South Africa for the second straight year.

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Day 3: Heading to Soweto

Johannesburg woke up to a chilly Saturday morning as the life skills and basketball action continued on the courts of King Edward VII School. As on the morning before, both boys and girls started their third day at the camp with a life skills seminar. Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Jerryd Bayless had headed to the courts before other coaches and players arrived to spend time with the youth and talk about leadership as well as share their life experiences and lessons.

Skills stations and team practices took up the rest of the morning. Simultaneously, the NBA Youth Camp was taking place at St John’s College with almost 60 children learning the fundamentals of the game.

In the afternoon, the NBA contingent visited the Boys and Girls Club in Pimville, Soweto to dedicate NBA Cares’ 32nd legacy project as part of the Basketball without Borders Africa camp. A newly refurbished basketball court was presented to the Boys and Girls Club in a special ceremony.

The 11th edition of the Basketball without Borders Africa camp is due to culminate tomorrow afternoon where some of the best young African players take the court to face each other in the All-Star Game.