Thunder Players Host Outreach Program in South Africa
It should be no surprise to Oklahoma City residents that their typically generous and committed Thunder players are getting out and helping others this summer. Thunder players go into the Oklahoma community to read to students, help families in need and teach children life skills on a regular basis during the season, but it doesn’t stop in the off-season.
What might surprise Oklahomans, however, is where four Thunder players are conducting an outreach program this week – South Africa. Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison will all be in Johannesburg from August 30th through September 2nd to participate with NBA Cares in the Basketball Without Borders global basketball development program. This will be the tenth time the program has operated in Africa, and Sefolosha, Collison and Ibaka have all participated before.
By accounting for three of the eight NBA players who will be working with 60 of the top players aged 18 or younger in all of Africa, the Thunder trio will have the opportunity to teach the game they love and immerse themselves into the African community.
The campers will be divided into six different teams, which will each be coached by either an NBA legend like Dikembe Mutombo or one of the nine NBA or FIBA coaches who will be participating in the program. In addition, the three Thunder players will get the chance to lead daily clinics each morning to teach the fundamentals of passing, shooting, dribbling, one-on-one moves and offensive and defensive principles. Practice and games will take place in the evenings, with individual and team shooting drills being incorporated into the daily schedule.
Off the court, the Basketball Without Borders program will focus on grassroots basketball development, youth and family development, health and wellness and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. Furthermore, the group of NBA players will help dedicate a refurbished sports complex in the Alexandra Township, build two homes in the Orange Farm Township with Habitat for Humanity and participate in a basketball clinic with Special Olympics South Africa.
To cap it all off, the 60 campers will receive motivational life-skills seminars thanks to Hoops 4 Hope in order to engage the young African players on topics such as leadership, character development, gender equity and education.
While the location, environment and surroundings might be different, the type of community service Sefolosha, Ibaka and Collison will be doing in South Africa is very familiar. As a part of the Oklahoma City community, these four Thunder players are active in touching the lives of Oklahomans, and do it with smiles on their faces, which they’ll surely do this week in Johannesburg.