The Road to Senegal

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: July 15, 2010

LONDON AND JOHANNESBURG — NBA players and African natives DeSagana Diop (Senegal), Luc Mbah a Moute (Cameroon) and Hasheem Thabeet (Tanzania) will headline Basketball without Borders Africa program as announced by the National Basketball Association (NBA), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Senegalese Basketball Federation (SBF).

The African edition of the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program will be held in Dakar, Senegal for the first time, Aug. 5- 8. Uniting the top 60 young basketball players from the continent, the camp will provide basketball coaching while encouraging positive social change in the areas of education, health and well being. “It is of particular significance that Basketball without Borders Africa is being held here in Dakar for the first time,” said Amadou Gallo Fall, Vice President of Development for the NBA in Africa, and a native of Senegal.

“With the help of current and former NBA and FIBA players, coaches and partners, Basketball without Borders is a perfect vehicle to draw attention to important social issues while allowing us to coach and mentor the top youth basketball talent from across the African continent.” The 60 top youth players 19 and under as selected by the NBA, FIBA and participating federations will come together for the four-day camp to train under NBA players and coaches, and compete against their peers. Campers will be divided into teams independent of race, religion or nationality to promote friendship and diversity. “We are extremely proud to be working alongside the NBA and FIBA on this wonderful initiative here in Dakar,” said Baba Tandjan, President of the Senegalese Basketball Federation.

“We look forward to welcoming the NBA stars and coaches for four days of intense competition and off-the-court activities that will serve to further raise the profile of the sport in Senegal and across Africa.” “BWB enables young players to showcase their basketball talents and skills while also learning from some of the very best players and coaches in the world,” said Patrick Baumann, Secretary General, FIBA.

“The community outreach aspect of the camp is invaluable in providing young people with all the necessary tools to have a positive impact among their peers and become role models in their communities.”

This will be the first time the camp is staged outside of Johannesburg, South Africa, since the inaugural Africa 100 camp held in 2003. Diop (Charlotte Bobcats), Mbah a Moute (Milwaukee Bucks) and Thabeet (Memphis Grizzlies) will lead a group of NBA players and team personnel that includes NBA All Star Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic), Sam Dalembert (Sacramento Kings), Willie Green (Philadelphia 76ers), Danilo Gallinari, Anthony Randolph and Ronny Turiaf (New York Knicks), Anthony Parker of the Cleveland Cavaliers and WNBA legends Tamika Raymond and Nykesha Sales.

NBA Global Ambassador and 18-year NBA veteran Dikembe Mutombo from the Democratic Republic of the Congo will return for the eighth consecutive year. More than 100 NBA players and other personnel, along with more than 500 campers have participated since the camp’s inauguration including Milwaukee Bucks’ Luc Mbah a Moute from Cameroon. “Having participated myself as a camper in 2003, this event is of particular significance to me,” said Luc Mbah a Moute. “Whilst I have been fortunate to make the transition to the NBA, BWB Africa also instilled in me important values such as teamwork and discipline while stressing the importance of health and education.” During the camp, the NBA players and coaches will also participate in extensive community outreach events and activities through the league’s social responsibility program NBA Cares.

In partnership with the nonprofit organization Hoops 4 Hope, the players and coaches will lead daily life-skills seminars for the campers that focus on leadership, character development and health and wellness with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS prevention.

In addition, the players and coaches will participate in a Malaria bed net distribution program in partnership with United Nations Foundation, USAID and the Senegal Ministry of Health; dedicate a new basketball court and hold a basketball and fitness clinic for Special Olympic athletes; and open a new computer room, library and study center at the YMCA Senegal. In addition to participating in BWB activities, Nykesha Sales and Tamika Raymond will help run a basketball clinic and life skills sessions for 40 female basketball players selected by the Senegalese Basketball Federation. Prior to the start of BWB Africa, Sales and Willie Green will travel to Cape Verde as part of the U.S.

State Department Sports Envoy Program. Anthony Randolph and Tamika Raymond will visit Malawi following the camp as part of the same program Basketball without Borders Africa will feature Nike, EA SPORTS, South African Airways and Spalding as marketing partners. A Basketball without Borders marketing partner since 2002, Nike will again outfit all the camp participants and coaches with Nike footwear and apparel.

“Basketball without Borders teaches young basketball players the importance of hard work, dedication, teamwork and sportsmanship,” said Lynn Merritt, Vice President, Global Basketball Sports Marketing, Nike.

“These are all crucial to the future success of these young campers both on and off the court, and we are proud to be working with the NBA and FIBA to promote these values.” Basketball without Borders 2010 will this year feature over 40 NBA Players and coaches as they visit Singapore June 28- July 1; Dakar, Senegal August 6-9, concluding in Barcelona, Spain September 16-19. In March 2010, the NBA opened its first office in Africa with Amadou Gallo Fall named as Vice President of Development for the NBA in Africa. Fall served as BWB Africa Camp Director since its inception in 2003 and spent the previous 12 years working as director of player personnel and vice president of international affairs for the Dallas Mavericks.