CJ Watson Joins 10th Basketball Without Borders Africa

JOHANNESBURG—Brooklyn Nets guard CJ Watson is one of several current NBA players joining legend Dikembe Mutombo on the 10th edition of Basketball Without Borders Africa in Johannesburg from August 30 to September 2. They will lead a camp for 60 of the top young players from across Africa, and help build two homes in partnership with Habitat for Humanity South Africa in Orange Farm Township on August 31.

Players from 26 countries will travel more than 100,000 kilometers from all ends of the African continent to descend on Johannesburg for the four-day basketball camp. The players, including four from South Africa and one from the newly formed Republic of South Sudan, were selected by FIBA, the NBA and participating federations based on their basketball skills, leadership abilities and dedication to the sport. A three-day girls' camp for 25 elite female South African players will run concurrently, with expert instruction by WNBA legend Chamique Holdsclaw.

For the duration of both events, campers will work on improving their basketball skills through drills, daily scrimmages, and competitions with top instruction from the NBA and WNBA players and coaches. Both camps will feature daily life skills sessions, in partnership with UNICEF and Hoops 4 Hope, in which NBA and WNBA players will speak about the importance of education, leadership, and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.  Campers will be hosted by St. John’s College, with the on-court action taking place at the King Edwards VII School.  

Adding to a partnership that began in 2007, the NBA/WNBA contingent will help build two homes with Habitat for Humanity South Africa in Orange Farm Township on Aug. 31.  Upon completion of the houses, which are supported by the Pagliuca family, 13 homes will have been built in the country as part of NBA Cares efforts at Basketball without Borders Africa.  

The highlight of the week is the dedication of the NBA Cares Legacy Project, a newly refurbished sports complex in Alex Township, on Sept. 1.  Alex is one of the largest urban neighborhoods in South Africa and this renovated area will provide four new basketball/netball courts creating a safe space for kids and families to play. The dedication ceremony will also feature a basketball and fitness clinic led by the NBA/WNBA players and coaches. 

This will be the tenth edition of the BWB Africa camp, and the ninth to be held in South Africa.  More than 100 NBA players, legends and other personnel, along with nearly 900 campers, have participated since the first camp in 2003, with five former BWB Africa campers making the transition to the NBA, including Luc Richard Mbah A Moute. He and Watson are joined as camp coaches by fellow NBA players Thabo Sefalosha, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and Luol Deng.

NBA coaches and personnel attending the camp include Ron Adams (Chicago Bulls); Jim Boylan (Milwaukee Bucks); Luca Desta (Dallas Mavericks); Patrick Hunt (FIBA Coach); BJ Johnson (Houston Rockets); Popeye Jones (Brooklyn Nets); Milton Newton (Washington Wizards) and Patrick Mutombo (Denver Nuggets). Keith Jones from the Houston Rockets and Brian Zettler from the Utah Jazz join as camp trainers, whilst Phoenix Suns General Manager Lance Blanks and Denver Nuggets General Manager Masai Ujiri from Nigeria, the first African general manager of a US sports franchise, return as camp directors. 

Co-organized by the NBA and FIBA, this year’s camp features Nike, South African Airways, Spalding and Sprite as BWB Marketing Partners.