BWB Africa

FIBA - Basketball stars reunite for Basketball Without Borders Africa

The NBA, FIBA and BSA Bring Together Best African Basketball Talent for Basketball Instruction, Community Outreach and NBA Legacy Project in Johannesburg

GENEVA (Basketball Without Borders) - Houston Rockets center and Congo native Dikembe Mutombo will lead a contingent of FIBA/NBA players and team personnel acting as camp coaches for Basketball without Borders Africa, which will take place September 7-12 in Johannesburg, South Africa, it was announced today by the National Basketball Association (NBA), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and Basketball South Africa (BSA). 

"Basketball without Borders is a global program that brings people together to discuss important social issues such as HIV/AIDS prevention while emphasizing the importance of education and healthy living," said NBA Commissioner David Stern. "The NBA is proud to work together with FIBA and its basketball federations to help young people from diverse national and economic backgrounds come together and learn through the sport of basketball."

Since the program's first trip to Africa in 2003, more than 28 FIBA/NBA players and team personnel from 11 teams have participated in Basketball without Borders Africa, which brings together the best 100 players (ages 19 & under) from more than 20 countries across the continent for basketball instruction and competition, community outreach events and educational seminars addressing prevalent issues in today's society such as HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. 

The inaugural Basketball without Borders took place in Europe in July 2001. Vlade Divac of the Los Angeles Lakers and Toni Kukoc of the Milwaukee Bucks, together with five other FIBA/NBA players and former teammates for the Yugoslav national team, re-united to work with 50 children from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia and Montenegro at La Ghirada in Treviso, Italy.  Since then, Basketball without Borders has expanded its reach to four continents.  In addition to Africa, the first Basketball without Borders Asia will take place in Beijing, China July 14-17.  The second annual Basketball without Borders Americas will head to Buenos Aires, Argentina June 30-July 4.  In its fifth year, Basketball without Borders Europe will take place July 28-31.  To date, more than 440 youngsters from 72 different countries and territories have taken part in the NBA and FIBA program and Reading & Learning Centers have been created in South Africa and Brazil as part of its community outreach efforts.

"Last year's Basketball without Borders was a memorable experience for all those involved and I am very happy to once again have the opportunity to take part in the program," said Mutombo, who will also participate in Basketball without Borders Americas. "It is an honor to be able to represent your homeland while directly contributing to the communities that need it most, the Basketball without Borders program encapsulates both."

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 will participate in daily seminars that promote education, leadership, character, healthy living and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.  The U.S. Embassy in Pretoria and the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg will again partner with the NBA for community outreach activities focused on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

"Health, and especially the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, is a top priority for the U.S. Mission to South Africa," said U.S. Ambassador Jendayi E. Frazer.  "We are very appreciative of the work that the NBA is doing in this area through Basketball without Borders.  Sports stars have so much influence here, just like in the U.S., and it's great to see these NBA players using their influence to encourage young people towards healthy living."

Basketball without Borders Africa will once again return to the American International School of Johannesburg, the host for last year's event. Co-organized by the NBA, FIBA, and BSA, the camp features Molten, Reebok, South African Airways, Spalding and Sprite as BWB Marketing Partners.  South African Airways will help fly the 100 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, as well as charitable product donations to local community organizations in the Johannesburg area. 

"Basketball without Borders Africa in South Africa has been an inspiring experience," said FIBA International Relations and Development Manager Anicet Lavodrama. "Since its inception in 2003, this camp is the perfect combination of basketball instruction and community outreach while promoting a large scale cross-continent youth movement which transcends nationalities, cultural and educational backgrounds.  FIBA and the NBA are providing the campers with strong examples of commitment to personal excellence on-and-off the court. We thank the generous support of individual, corporate and philanthropic sponsors as well as the participating national basketball federations and BWB Marketing Partners."

Joining Mutombo at the camp will be Cleveland Cavaliers center DeSagana Diop (Senegal), Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng (Sudan), Dallas Mavericks center Didier Ilunga-Mbenga (Congo), Denver Nuggets center Marcus Camby,  New Orleans Hornets center Maciej Lampe (Poland), Philadelphia 76ers forward Andre Iguodala, San Antonio Spurs guard Beno Udrih (Slovenia) and Portland Trail Blazers Zach Randolph.  The San Antonio Spurs Lance Blanks and R.C. Buford, Dallas Mavericks Amadou Fall, Denver Nuggets Masai Ujiri and Former NBA player and NBDL coach Sam Vincent will oversee as the camp directors.   

One of the goals of Basketball without Borders Africa is to help explore, develop and nurture the top basketball talent from the continent.  Some campers, who have participated in the program, have gone on to play competitive basketball internationally and at schools in the United States.  The 100 campers are selected by FIBA and the NBA, in conjunction with participating basketball federations, based on basketball skills, leadership abilities and dedication to the sport of basketball. The NBA and FIBA also will donate products, such as basketballs, rims and nets to local basketball federations. 

"The camp hosted by Basketball South Africa provides a platform for young players from Africa to enhance their skills under the guidance of some of the most talented and experienced players and coaches in the NBA and FIBA," said Vusi Mgobhozi, Executive President, Basketball South Africa.  "This assembly of African players is an opportunity for advancement in their sporting and academic careers and we are very proud to be part of Basketball without Borders Africa."   

In addition to the on-court action, Basketball without Borders Africa also will feature extensive community outreach initiatives, led by NBA Legend and Community Ambassador Bob Lanier, including a return visit to the Ithuteng Trust, a Youth Empowerment Program founded in 1990 by Jackey "Mama Jackey" Maarohanye, in Pimville, South Africa.  It also will include a return to the Soweto Kliptown Youth Trust (SKY), in partnership with Feed the Children, which over the course of the year has provided daily meals to its 500 students.  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 and Learning Center at Ithuteng Trust.  Most of the students come from extremely poverty-stricken families and the majority are orphans due to political violence, crime and AIDS. 

In conjunction with the 2005 launch of Basketball without Borders, visitors to NBA.com and FIBA.com will have the opportunity to bid for authentic jerseys, Nike and Reebok basketball shoes and basketballs signed by some of the headliners for each camp and new items will be posted throughout the auction until April 26.  The proceeds will go to the Basketball without Borders Fund, which supports community outreach efforts that address important social issues around the world with a special emphasis on education, youth sports, and HIV/AIDS awareness and education.  FIBA.com also will feature full coverage of every camp, including player interviews, photo galleries and a news section.

Previous trips to Africa included a visit in September 1993 when Mutombo visited Kenya, Zambia and South Africa with an assortment of officials and coaches including Alex English and Bob McAdoo.  In August of 1994, Stern accompanied Mutombo and NBA All-Stars Alonzo Mourning and Patrick Ewing, who were part of an NBA contingent of players, officials, coaches, and legends that traveled to South Africa for basketball youth clinics.  One of the highlights of the group's tour of South Africa was a meeting with Nelson Mandela, former President of the African National Congress and former President of South Africa, who spent 27 years in prison.  In 1997, Mutombo and Mwadi Mabika of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks were the headliners on a special tour to South Africa where the NBA conducted clinics in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

For more information, please contact:

Helen Wong, NBA International Public Relations, hwong@nba.com, (212) 407-8299
Guillaume Le Roy, NBA Europe, gleroy@nba.com, +33 (0)1 53 53 62 02
Zoran Radovic, FIBA, radovic@fiba.com +41 (22) 545 00 44
Anicet Lavodrama, FIBA, lavodrama@fiba.com +41 (22) 545 00 43