Bledsoe to Headline Basketball Without Borders in Angola
The NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced on Tuesday the top 87 boys and girls from 27 African countries who will travel to the first Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa Camp in Angola, which will be held Aug. 31-Sept. 3 at Pavilhão Multiusos do Kilamba in Luanda. Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe is among a group of NBA players, legends and coaches that will be on hand to provide instruction. BWB, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program, is celebrating its 15th anniversary this summer.
BWB Africa, which will be supported by the Angolan Basketball Federation (Federaçao Angolana de Basquetebol) and the Angola Ministry of Youth and Sports, will bring together the top male and female players born in 1999 from across Africa to learn directly from NBA and FIBA players, legends and coaches, including Bledsoe (Suns; U.S.), Bismack Biyombo (Orlando Magic; Democratic Republic of the Congo), Luc Mbah a Moute (LA Clippers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2003), Salah Mejri (Dallas Mavericks; Tunisia), Thabo Sefolosha (Atlanta Hawks; Switzerland), and Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets; U.S.).
The NBA players will be joined by NBA Global Ambassador and Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo); former NBA players Charlie Bell (U.S.), Jason Collins (U.S.), Olumide Oyedeji (Nigeria); and former WNBA players Astou Ndiaye-Diatta (Senegal) and Jenn Lacy (U.S.).
“We are pleased to partner with FIBA to bring the 14th edition of Basketball without Borders Africa to Angola for the first time,” said NBA Vice President and Managing Director for Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall. “Africa’s growing basketball ecosystem led to a record 10 African players on NBA rosters at the start of last season and five African players selected in the 2016 NBA Draft. This year’s camp will once again provide young players from across the continent with the tools to succeed on the court and in life.”
“Angola enjoys a very rich and successful basketball tradition, so it is a great privilege to team up with the NBA in holding a Basketball without Borders camp there for the first time,” said FIBA National Federation & Sport Director Zoran Radovic.
NBA coaches Tom Bialaszewski (most recently with the Los Angeles Lakers), Johnnie Bryant (Utah Jazz), Harold Ellis (Orlando Magic), BJ Johnson (Houston Rockets), Sidney Lowe (Washington Wizards) and Lloyd Pierce (Philadelphia 76ers) will also serve as BWB Africa coaches. Duane Brooks (New Orleans Pelicans) and Steve Spiro (Cleveland Cavaliers) will serve as the camp’s athletic trainers, while Pelicans Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Dell Demps and Toronto Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri will serve as camp directors.
Working closely with longtime NBA Cares partners UNICEF and Hoops 4 Hope, NBA Cares will organize a variety of community outreach efforts teaching the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle and the values of the game, including teamwork, respect and leadership as part of BWB Africa. NBA players and coaches will host a Jr. NBA basketball clinic at Kilamba Arena for 100 boys and girls from two schools in the Luanda area. NBA Cares will also support two local schools - Blue Horizon Orphanage and School and Escola 1056 - with refurbishments, donations, and a visit from NBA players during the trip. In addition, Hoops 4 Hope will lead daily life skills sessions for the campers, focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention, education, leadership lessons and character development.
Nike, a BWB global partner since 2002, will outfit the campers and coaches with Nike apparel and footwear. Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, the first exclusive automotive partner of the NBA in Africa, will serve as an official partner of BWB Africa for the second consecutive year and will be integrated into in-arena signage. South African Airways will return for the 14th year as a BWB Africa marketing partner.
Helmarc – Comércio e Indústria (Helmarc), a major real estate development company in Angola, will serve as the host partner of BWB Africa. Helmarc will provide BWB Africa use of Pavilhão Multiusos do Kilamba, the state-of-the-art, multipurpose indoor arena in Luanda that will host the camp, and other logistical support for the event.
Since 2001, BWB has reached more than 2,500 participants from 131 countries and territories, with 43 campers drafted into the NBA, including nine BWB Africa campers. Twenty-one former BWB campers were on opening-night rosters for the 2015-16 NBA season.
The first-ever Basketball without Borders camp took place in Europe in July 2001. Vlade Divac (Serbia) and Toni Kukoc (Croatia), together with former teammates from the Yugoslav national team, reunited to work with 50 children from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia and Montenegro at La Ghirada in Treviso, Italy. Since then, the NBA and FIBA have staged 46 BWB camps in 27 cities across 23 countries on six continents. More than 215 current and former NBA, WNBA and FIBA players have joined more than 170 NBA team personnel from all 30 NBA teams to support BWB across the world.
BWB Asia was held June 23-26 at Dandenong Basketball Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. WB Europe will be held Sept. 7-10 at Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja, Finland.
The NBA has a long history in Africa with a record 10 African players on opening-night rosters for the 2015-16 NBA season and five African players selected in the 2016 NBA Draft. Through NBA Cares, 61 places where kids and families can live, learn or play have been created in Africa, and Basketball without Borders Africa has been held 13 times. The league opened an African headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2010. On Aug. 1, 2015, Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg hosted NBA Africa Game 2015, the first NBA game on the continent, in a Team Africa versus Team World format. For more information on the NBA in Africa, fans can visit www.NBA.com/Africa, Facebook.com/NBAAfrica and Twitter @NBA_Africa.