NBA and Sprite® to Dedicate New Basketball Courts in Nigeria and Angola; NBA Legend Sam Perkins and WNBA Star Ruth Riley to View Malaria Prevention Efforts with Nothing But Nets

PARIS, Jan. 22, 2007 – The NBA and Sprite®, a popular beverage brand from The Coca-Cola Company, are stepping up their efforts to assist children and communities in Africa as NBA Legend Sam Perkins and WNBA star Ruth Riley of the Detroit Shock travel to Nigeria and Angola the week of Jan. 22-30, 2007. During this outreach initiative, NBA Cares will unveil two refurbished basketball courts and hold instructional clinics, presented by the Sprite® brand, a product of The Coca-Cola Company, with the assistance of the WB Academy in Nigeria, the US Embassy in Angola, and the Angolan Basketball Federation. In addition, Perkins and Riley will participate in Malaria Observation Days with the Nothing But Nets campaign, to see first-hand how one of Africa’s deadliest diseases affects the country.

“I am eager to participate and learn first-hand the devastating effects malaria has on children, and how the Nothing But Nets initiative makes an impact,” said Perkins. “I'm also honored to join Sprite® in the dedication of two basketball courts and have the opportunity to teach the game of basketball and promote a healthy lifestyle to children.”

“We are committed to cultivating healthy and active lifestyles in the youth of Angola through sport, recognizing that sporting talent, once identified and professionally developed has a positive all-round impact on the health and welfare of the individual and society at large. This objective is what is being realized by developing the game of basketball from grassroots level, to give all talent a chance. Our hope is that these basketball courts will see youths developing their talent to play the sport at a professional level,” said Veli Mabena, Coca-Cola Lusophone franchise’s marketing manager.

While in Nigeria, Perkins, along with officials of Coca-Cola Nigeria & Equatorial Africa Limited and its bottling partners, Nigerian Bottling Company Plc, will dedicate a newly refurbished outdoor basketball court in Lagos, Nigeria. The ceremony will be followed by a basketball skills clinic for over 50 children hosted by the NBA at the Warriors Basketball Academy on January 22. Perkins and Riley will also travel to Angola on Jan. 30 to unveil the second Sprite court refurbishment and host as instructional basketball clinic for 75 children in conjunction with the Angolan Basketball Federation.

During the Malaria Observation Days, Perkins and Riley, who serve as spokespeople for the Nothing But Nets campaign, will meet with African families and WHO health care workers, and visit clinics to see first-hand the effects of malaria and how the campaign is contributing to malaria prevention. Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to fight malaria in Africa by delivering insecticide-treated nets. A donation of $10 to Nothing But Nets covers the cost of purchasing an insecticide-treated bed net, distributing it and educating communities on its use. The campaign has raised over $3 million since May 2006. In November 2006, representatives of the campaign traveled to Nigeria to visit with families who had received the first shipment of more than 150,000 long-lasting, insecticide-treated nets. The nets sent to Nigeria were the first of many that will be shipped to Africa through Nothing But Nets.

Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Inspired by Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly, thousands of people have joined the campaign that was created by the United Nations Foundation. Founding campaign partners include the National Basketball Association’s NBA Cares, The People of the United Methodist Church, and Sports Illustrated. Other partners include VH-1, The Mark J. Gordon Foundation, AOL Black Voices, and Rotarians’ Action Group on Malaria. It only costs $10 to provide an insecticide-treated bed net that can prevent this deadly disease. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will match your donation, net for net! Visit www.NothingButNets.net to send a net and save a life.