NBA Basketball Stars Reunite for Basketball Without Borders Africa
Posted Aug 31 2005 2:52PM
The NBA, FIBA and BSA Bring Together Best African Basketball Talent
AUGUST 22, 2005 – Led by Houston Rockets center and NBA great Dikembe Mutombo, Denver Nuggets Marcus Camby and NBA player Jerome Williams, the NBA’s community outreach for Basketball without Borders Africa will feature the opening of a second Reading & Learning Center in Soweto, a return visit to the Ithuteng Trust, and educational seminars and events that address critical issues such as HIV/AIDS education and prevention, announced the National Basketball Association (NBA), International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and Basketball South Africa (BSA).
Marking its third visit to South Africa, Basketball without Borders Africa is scheduled to take place September 7-12 at the American International School of Johannesburg. The program, a basketball instructional camp for young people that also promotes friendship, healthy living and education, features current and former NBA players and team personnel as camp coaches for the 106 young athletes (19 & under) from 25 countries across Africa.
"Last year’s Basketball without Borders was a memorable experience for all those involved and I am very happy to have the opportunity to take part in the program once again,” said Mutombo, who also participated in Basketball without Borders Americas. “It is an honor to be able to represent the NBA and my homeland while directly contributing to the communities and people that need it most. The Basketball without Borders program does both.”
The camp, highlighted by extensive community relations outreach, includes the NBA Legacy Project at the Soweto Kliptown Youth (SKY) Trust, a youth empowerment program, on Thursday, September 8. The Legacy Project, in partnership with international relief organization Feed the Children, will include the building of a new Reading & Learning Center, consisting of a multi-media/computer room, library and a donation of books, computers, educational materials, clothing and basketball equipment. Feed the Children provides daily meals to SKY’s 500 students and remodeled their existing kitchen. Last year, current and former NBA players visited SKY Trust as part of Basketball without Borders Africa to encourage literacy and education.
Through its Read to Achieve program, the NBA and its teams have created 112 Reading & Learning Centers and more than 200 Reading Corners to enhance local reading programs around the globe. This will mark the fifth center to open outside the United States and Canada. The others 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 and the Hui Lei School in Beijing, China and at the Ithuteng Trust in South Africa.
The U.S. Embassy in Pretoria and the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg will again partner with the NBA as part of the league’s global campaign to raise awareness among young people about HIV/AIDS education and prevention. The event, which will take place September 9 at the Moletsane Sports Complex in Soweto, will include drama presentations, personal testimonials, music, dance, and a health fair featuring mobile clinics, booths, and other information displays. Reebok, an official Basketball without Borders partner, and the NBA will dedicate two refurbished basketball courts to promote healthy, active lifestyles through sport. The NBA contingent of current and former players and team personnel will speak at the event about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and HIV/AIDS prevention.
On Saturday, September 10, all current and former NBA players, NBA team personnel and actor Chris Tucker, best known for his role in Rush Hour and Rush Hour 2, will return to Ithuteng Trust to help dedicate a new laundry facility and guest house for its students. Since Basketball without Borders Africa in 2003, the NBA has worked closely with Jackey “Mama Jackey” Maarohanye’s Ithuteng Trust, a Youth Empowerment Program in Soweto, founded in 1990 by Maarohanye. Most of the students come from extremely poverty-stricken families and the majority are orphans due to political violence, crime and AIDS. The students meet after school as well as on weekends to tutor each other, study, participate in sports and musical activities, as a way to encourage healing and learning.
During the last two trips to South Africa, the camps included a dedication of the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation boys and girls youth hostels, a new basketball court and the opening of a Reading & Learning Center at Ithuteng Trust. The center was supplied with thousands of books, resource guides and materials, and was fitted with desktop computers, printers, servers and educational software sponsored by Dell. With the NBA’s help, Mama Jackey has become a household name in the USA, for her efforts and the difference she has made in the lives of South Africa’s most disenfranchised youth. She has opened her heart to thousands of children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS and who have been the victims of violence and crime. Since the NBA’s initial involvement, celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Chris Tucker and Brad Pitt have followed suit with visits and donations to support the on-going work of Ithuteng and to reinforce its mission of life-long learning.
Since the program’s first trip to Africa in 2003, more than 28 NBA players and team personnel from 11 teams have participated in Basketball without Borders Africa. 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 seminars that promote education, leadership, character, healthy living and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.
The young players (ages 19 & under) from more than 28 countries across Africa were selected by FIBA and the NBA, based on their basketball skills, leadership abilities and dedication to the sport. Co-organized by the NBA, FIBA, and BSA, the camp features Reebok, South African Airways, Sprite, Molten and Spalding as BWB Marketing Partners. South African Airways will help fly the 106 players from all over Africa to the camp, as well as transport all camp equipment and product donations to Johannesburg. Sprite will provide refreshments for camp participants, players, coaches and media. Reebok will provide on-court apparel, footwear, sports bags and towels for all campers. The NBA and FIBA also will donate products, such as basketballs, rims and nets to local basketball federations.
Other NBA players taking part in Basketball without Borders Africa include LA Clippers Mamadou N’diaye (Senegal), Detroit Pistons forward-guard Darvin Ham, New Orleans Hornets forward Maciej Lampe (Poland), Phoenix Suns forward-guard Jimmy Jackson and NBA Legend and Community Ambassador Bob Lanier. In addition, NBA personnel from eight different teams also will act as camp coaches. The San Antonio Spurs R.C. Buford, Dallas Mavericks Amadou Fall, Denver Nuggets Masai Ujiri and Cleveland Cavaliers Lance Blanks and Sam Vincent will serve as the camp directors.