Basketball Without Borders To Return To Four Continents This Summer

By Off The BASN Sports Wire
Updated: April 12, 2006

NEW YORK — Basketball without Borders, a global basketball development and community outreach program, will return to four continents in 2006 and will be staged in Lithuania and Puerto Rico for the first time, it was announced today by the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).

The program, a basketball instructional camp for young people that also promotes friendship, healthy living and education with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, features current and former NBA players and team personnel as camp coaches.

“One of the cornerstones of NBA Cares, Basketball without Borders is truly a global program that transcends all boundaries,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern.

“Through the sport of basketball, it unites young people from diverse cultural, national and economic backgrounds on four separate continents.The NBA is proud to join forces with FIBA and its federations to bring together young athletes from around the world for such an impactful program that also serves as an essential forum for important social issues such as HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.”

Since the inaugural camp in 2001, Basketball without Borders has featured more than 120 NBA players, coaches and team personnel from 29 different teams as camp coaches for the more than 700 young athletes from nearly 100 different countries and territories.

The NBA family and the campers have traveled more than 85 million miles and logged more than 1 million hours of community service participating in Basketball without Borders.

The camps will mark a return home for some of the league’s top international players, who will be joined by an array of NBA stars, reinforcing the dedication and commitment by players to communities worldwide. The following is a tentative list of NBA participants for Basketball without Borders.

Led by native son Yao Ming, star center for the Houston Rockets, the second Basketball without Borders Asia will take place in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China June 8-11, with American Airlines, McDonald’s, Nokia, Nucom, Reebok and Spalding as BWB Marketing Partners.

American Airlines will be the official airline supplier providing flights for NBA players, staff and legends. Joining Yao will be his teammate Richie Frahm, Atlanta Hawks guard-forward Josh Childress and Philadelphia 76ers center Samuel Dalembert (Haiti), who will be participating in his sixth camp this year.

In its sixth year, Basketball without Borders Europe will take place for the first time in Vilnius, Lithuania at the Sarunas Marciulionis Basketball Academy June 30-July 3 with Nike and Spalding as BWB Marketing Partners. Lithuania’s Zydrunas Ilgauskas of the Cleveland Cavaliers will lead a contingent of NBA players from Europe, including four other NBA players from Lithuania as camp coaches.

The All-Star Game for the camp will take place in Kaunas, Lithuania. Lufthansa will be the official airline supplier providing flights for NBA players, staff and legends.

Carlos Arroyo of the Orlando Magic will return home to San Juan, Puerto Rico with a group of NBA players, including Phoenix Suns guard Raja Bell (U.S. Virgin Islands), for Basketball without Borders Americas at Roberto Clemente Arena July 17-20 with Nike and Spalding as BWB Marketing Partners.

For the fourth consecutive year, Congo native Dikembe Mutombo of the Houston Rockets will lead a group of NBA players, including Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash (Canada), Denver Nuggets center Marcus Camby and Chicago Bulls forward-guard Luol Deng (Sudan), to Johannesburg, South Africa for Basketball without Borders Africa Sept. 6-10.

The camp will take place at the American International School of Johannesburg with Reebok, South African Airways, Spalding and Sprite as BWB Marketing Partners.This will mark Camby’s second consecutive trip and a special homecoming for Nash, who was born in South Africa and raised in Canada.

“Basketball without Borders enters its sixth year of existence and has developed into a major asset in FIBA’s effort to further develop the game around the world and to promote young talents,” said FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann.

“The camp is a success story and has become a reference for youngsters around the world. We hope to see many of the campers again at future FIBA World Championships or Olympic basketball tournaments. We would like to thank our partners and the NBA for their continuous commitment to the program, the FIBA Zones involved and the host countries for their important support.”

Each Basketball without Borders camp will unite the top young basketball players (ages 19 & under) from across each region to take part in basketball instruction and competition.The camp’s participants are selected by FIBA and participating basketball federations based on their basketball skills, leadership abilities and dedication to the sport of basketball.

One of the goals of Basketball without Borders is to help explore, develop and nurture the top basketball talent on each continent.Some campers who have participated in the program have gone on to play competitive basketball internationally and at schools in the United States.

To promote friendship and diversity, the campers will be divided into teams without regard to race and nationality.They will share living quarters with their new teammates and participate in daily motivational and life-skills seminars that promote education, leadership, character development, healthy living and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

The HIV/AIDS interactive educational seminars will be led by NBA Cares community partners, such as United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the world’s leading non-governmental organization dedicated to children.

The camps will be highlighted by extensive community outreach activities focusing on HIV/AIDS awareness, education and grassroots basketball development.Efforts will culminate with an NBA Cares Legacy Project, the NBA’s premier community initiative, which will include the creation of safe places where kids and families can live, learn or play.

The NBA and FIBA will also donate products, such as basketballs, rims and sporting goods to local basketball federations and communities. Through Basketball without Borders, five Learn & Play Centers and six new or refurbished basketball courts have been opened outside the United States and Canada.

Centers are located at Vila Olimpica de Jornalista Ary de Carvalho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Escuela Benjamín Zorrilla Distrito Escolar in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Hui Lei School in Beijing, China and at Ithuteng Trust and at SKY Trust in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“I look forward to this year’s Basketball without Borders.My experience last year was the best trip that I have ever been on in my life,” said Camby, who will take part in his second Basketball without Borders Africa.

“I encourage every NBA player to come and do this.A lot of people want to see NBA players. We can make a real difference and there are so many people who need our help.”

Highlights of last year’s community outreach include the creation of a Learn & Play Center at the Escuela Benjamín Zorrilla Distrito Escolar 8 in Buenos Aires, Argentina; a Special Olympics Basketball Clinic presented by McDonald’s at the Beijing Olympic Training Facility and the creation of a learn and play space featuring a Learn & Play Center and a new basketball court, in partnership with Reebok, at the Hui Lei School in Beijing, China; a second Learn & Play Center in Johannesburg, South Africa at SKY Trust in partnership with international relief organization Feed the Children, and a return to Ithuteng Trust, a Youth Empowerment Program founded in 1990 by Jackey “Mama Jackey” Maarohanye, in Pimville, South Africa, to help dedicate a new laundry facility and guest house for its students. Most of the students come from extremely poverty-stricken families and the majority are orphans due to political violence, crime and AIDS.

As a part of NBA Cares, the NBA and its teams have created Learn & Play Centers, built homes, refurbished basketball courts and other play spaces.To date, the NBA and its teams have created 138 places where families and children can live, learn or play.

The inaugural Basketball without Borders took place in Europe in July 2001.NBA legend Vlade Divac and Toni Kukoc of the Milwaukee Bucks, together with five other NBA players from the former Yugoslavia, re-united to work with 50 children from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia and Montenegro at La Ghirada in Treviso, Italy.Since then, Basketball without Borders has expanded its reach to eight countries and territories on four separate continents.