Sevening Travels to Brazil with Basketball Without Borders
It was a great honor and thrill the NBA called and asked if I'd be willing to be one of their athletic trainers in Brazil for one of the recent Basketball Without Borders.
It's something I never had an opportunity to do and always heard good things about. We went down to Rio de Janeiro and were there for a week and it was really a great experience. Along with myself we had other coaches from around the league, then we had some legends such as Dominique Wilkins, Allan Houston, Adonayle Foyle and Sam Perkins so it was quite a great program. They brought in 50 of the best players in the Americas ages between 16-18, it was really neat working with those kids.
The camp was set up with skill sessions, life lessons from the legends and then at the end of the day they had a round robin tournament and all-star game. It was a great learning experience for us as well as the kids in attendance.
As for the language barrier most of the guys new English and they all knew basketball. There was an interpreter on every court but when the kids were doing drills with the coaches they picked things up pretty quick. For me as an athletic trainer, luckily it was pretty healthy down there. We only had a few bumps and bruises, a back strain that I had to help deal with and me being limited on my Spanish and Portuguese I'd go back and forth with the interpreter to help them out.
All the legends were great, those guys were very approachable and helped by running the young guys through drills. They took a lot of time to do things with all the kids and took the Special Olympians out on the court and had them doing drills. They just made it fun. We were also able to hear some good stories from them, it was just great to work with them and a trip I'll never forget.
I wanted to help out and heard great things from other trainers who have helped out and everyone from our organization who has done it said it was a great experience. It was great, they had us doing different things from going to a favela and opening up and dedicating an outdoor basketball court for the neighborhood. Just being able to be part of that for something the community could use was just awesome.
It was definitely a life changing experience and I'd love to go back if I were ever given the opportunity again.