Gentry, Nelson To Participate In Basketball Without Borders

Posted: July 14, 2011

Basketball without Borders will celebrate its 10th anniversary with three camps this summer, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced today, and Phoenix Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry and Head Athletic Trainer Aaron Nelson will take part in the program. First held in 2001, Basketball without Borders (BWB) is the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development program that uses the sport to create positive social change in the areas of education and health and wellness.

A highlight of the 2011 camp schedule is Basketball without Borders Europe, which will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Aug. 8-11. This marks the first camp held in one of the former Yugoslav republics, which was where the 50 campers who attended the inaugural BWB camp hailed from. Additionally, many of the original NBA player coaches will return this year, including NBA Legend Vlade Divac (Serbia), who was instrumental in the creation of the BWB program. Other legends attending the camp include Dalibor Bagaric (Croatia), Zarko Cabarkapa (Montenegro), Rasho Nesterovic (Slovenia), Bruno Sundov (Croatia), Zan Tabak (Croatia), and Dragan Tarlac (Serbia).

“After witnessing the devastating effects of the Yugslav wars, I felt it was important to bring together our young people in a positive way through the unifying nature of sports, which was the genesis of Basketball without Borders,” said Divac. “Basketball was always a source of pride in the former Yugoslavia, and I thought it would be a great vehicle through which to teach tolerance and mutual respect after a period of such division and conflict. I am amazed at how the program has grown over the last decade and couldn't be prouder to participate in this special anniversary celebration.”

Basketball without Borders Americas will be held from July 29-Aug. 1 in Rio de Janeiro, where the first Americas camp was staged in 2004, and will feature Adonal Foyle, Allan Houston, Sam Perkins, and Dominique Wilkins as camp coaches. NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo will lead a group of NBA legends for Basketball without Borders Africa, which will return to Johannesburg, South Africa for the eighth time, Sept. 1-4, after being held in Senegal last year.

“Basketball without Borders has seen amazing success over the last decade thanks to the tremendous efforts of FIBA, our marketing and community partners, and the many members of the NBA Family who have joined us along the way,” said Kathleen Behrens, NBA Executive Vice President, Social Responsibility and Player Programs. “This program embodies the NBA’s commitment to growing the game of basketball globally while also using our sport to address critical social issues in communities around the world.”

“It is a great privilege to mark a decade of working together with the NBA on the Basketball without Borders initiative,” said Patrick Baumann, FIBA Secretary General and member of the International Olympic Committee. “10 years is a strong testament to the impact of the program, the quality of instruction and guidance provided both on and off the court. Since 2001, it has been our goal to provide young people all around the world with the opportunity and the tools to improve and showcase their basketball skills by learning from some of the best players and coaches around. We have also enabled them to have a positive effect on their communities by becoming role models.”

BWB features top youth players from each region, as selected by the NBA and FIBA, training under NBA legends and coaches. Campers receive top-level instruction on-court and participate in daily life-skills seminars focused on values of the game such as leadership, character development, and living a healthy lifestyle. Through NBA Cares, the NBA legends and coaches also participate in extensive community outreach efforts highlighted by the creation of places for children and families to live, learn or play including new technology centers, libraries and basketball courts.

Since its inception, the NBA and FIBA have staged 27 BWB camps in 16 cities in 14 countries. More than 100 different current and former NBA/WNBA players have joined with nearly 100 NBA coaches to act as mentors for nearly 1,500 campers from just over 100 countries, with 17 BWB campers drafted into the NBA.

Nike, a BWB partner since 2002, will again outfit the campers and coaches with Nike apparel. “For the past decade, Basketball without Borders has been teaching young basketball players around the world the importance of hard work, dedication, teamwork, and sportsmanship,” said Lynn Merritt, Vice President, Global Basketball Sports Marketing, Nike. “These characteristics are all crucial to helping promote success for these young campers both on and off the court, and we are proud to work with the NBA and FIBA to promote these values and celebrate the tenth anniversary of this program together.”