Rondae Takes On The World

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson took an eye-opening trip to play in the NBA Africa Game 2017

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s summer itinerary kept the third-year Brooklyn Nets forward in motion. There were plenty of workouts at HSS Training Center in Brooklyn, a week in Las Vegas for NBA Summer League action, and some time back home in Chester, Pa. for his summer basketball camp.

But he also stretched his horizons with a trip to Africa to participate in the NBA’s Basketball without Borders program and play in the NBA Africa Game 2017.

“It was great to be able to go to Africa,” said Hollis-Jefferson. “My first time. Just to experience that was amazing.”

This was the NBA’s second Africa game and the 17th year of Basketball without Borders. Hollis-Jefferson shares an agent with Portland’s CJ McCollum, and after McCollum signed on, Hollis-Jefferson committed as well.

The pair began their trip in Ethiopia before moving on to South Africa as part of a journey that lasted nearly two weeks.

“I’m really good friends with Kemba Walker, Andre Drummond and I grew to build relationships with DeMarcus Cousins and those guys, Courtney Lee,” said Hollis-Jefferson. “They were great to be around. Really good guys. They care. A lot of them took a lot of pictures. They went on safaris.”

Once in South Africa, the Basketball without Borders program began with a camp hosting 80 under-17 players from 26 African countries. The players spent another day working building houses alongside local families with Habitat for Humanity South Africa. They also staged a clinic in a local village.

“To be in a community and see a lot of things that we complained about growing up, first-world problems, it kind of made me feel a little embarrassed,” said Hollis-Jefferson. “I saw kids with no shoes walking miles. I saw pregnant women have to walk 13 miles to the nearest clinic. All these things you kind of look at and take into a different perspective.”

On August 5, he took the court as part of Team World against Team Africa in Johannesburg. Hollis-Jefferson contributed seven points, four rebounds and three assists in a 108-97 win.

He returned home carrying the impact of a meaningful experience.

“Life is a bit more than what we think it is here in the states,” said Hollis-Jefferson. “It humbled me. It was definitely one of the best experiences I had in my life.”

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