Danny Green at Basketball Without Borders - Day 4
The final day of Basketball without Borders Europe got off to a very colorful start at Children’s Home #59 in Moscow, where NBA Cares partnered with Kirilenko’s Kids to refurbish a basketball court. Ten children from the home greeted NBA/FIBA players and coaches with a traditional Russian welcome of bread and salt. The children were all dressed in bright Russian folk outfits and entertained the audience with a traditional dance. The director of the children’s home spoke and thanked Kirilenko, his foundation, and the NBA for their involvement in refurbishing the court, now complete with four baskets, bleachers and several basketballs to get the kids started.
Back at the Igrovoy Sport Complex there was a girl’s clinic, organized by the Russian Basketball Federation, in partnership with the NBA. After getting some exercise and playing advice from several of the Basketball without Borders participants, the girls all filled the stands to get ready for the All-Star game. The camp’s final and most anticipated event, the 2012 BWB Europe All-Star game featured the strongest players who were selected the night before by the coaching staff with input from the scouts in attendance.
The teams, simply known as ‘Red’ and ‘White,’ were evenly matched at the start, both coming off the bench strong. The Red squad was coached by Minnesota Timberwolves Player Development Coach David Adelman, assisted by NBA player Brian Cardinal and NBA Legend Sarunas Marciulionis. Denver Nuggets Assistant Coach Melvin Hunt led the White squad, along with Turkish Basketball Federation coach Ozan Havuzlu.
The crowd got the first All-Star moment at the end of the first quarter, when a long three-point buzzer beater fell, to put the Red team at 18, leading by four. Half-time saw the Red team with an even bigger lead of 39-22. While the coaches talked strategy, fans made some noise for the little volunteers in the Dress and Dribble contest and a couple players who tested their accuracy in the Three-Point contest. The whistle blew and the second half was underway with the White team chipping away at the Red team’s first half lead.
Cheering on the White team, the girl’s clinic participants clearly wanted Hunt’s team to come from behind for the win. Only down seven points with 2:10 on the clock, the White team pushed hard, but just couldn’t close the gap. Adelman’s team took the win, with a final score of 65-60.
Trophies were then given out to the game’s MVP, the camp’s MVP and the Three-Point contest winner. Each took a photo holding their prizes from Nike with the Kirilenko, Shved and Mozgov. The 11th BWB Europe concluded with players saying goodbye to their teammates and competitors, having played hard, fought language barriers and made the four-day camp count. Until next year!