BWB Asia

FIBA - Basketball Without Borders makes inaugural trip to China

Native Son Yao Ming Returns to Coach Top Asian Young Players

GENEVA (Basketball Without Borders) - Basketball without Borders, the world's premiere international basketball camp, will head to China for the first time, it was announced today by the National Basketball Association, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), and the China Basketball Association (CBA).  The program, a basketball instructional camp for young people that also promotes friendship, healthy living and education, features FIBA/NBA players and team personnel as camp coaches.  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.

"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."

Led by native son Yao Ming, star center of the Houston Rockets and the Chinese national team, the first Basketball without Borders Asia will take place July 14-17 at the Beijing Olympic Training Facility in Beijing, China.  Joining Yao as camp coaches will be Mengke Bateer, a former teammate from the Chinese National Team and NBA center, San Antonio Spurs Tony Parker (France),  Philadelphia 76ers teammates Samuel Dalembert (Haiti) and Kyle Korver, New Orleans Hornets Bostjan Nachbar (Slovenia) and Portland Trail Blazers Ha Seung-Jin (South Korea).  In addition, NBA personnel including Phoenix Suns Marc Iavaroni, Detroit Pistons Igor Kokoskov, Los Angeles Lakers Melvin Hunt, Washington Wizards Eric Waters and NBA coach Steve Silas also will participate.  Houston Rockets assistant coach Dean Cooper will oversee as camp director.

"I look forward to the first Basketball without Borders Asia," said Yao Ming, "It is important to continue to work with young Asian basketball players and instill in them the same values and fundamental skills that were taught to me."

One of the goals of Basketball without Borders Asia, which features McDonald's, Nokia, Reebok and Spalding as BWB Marketing Partners, is to help explore, develop and nurture the top basketball talent in Asia.  Selected by FIBA and the NBA, in conjunction with FIBA Asia and the CBA, based on their basketball skills, leadership abilities and dedication to the port of basketball, the camp will feature 50 players (ages 19 & under) from more than 20 countries across the continent to take part in basketball instruction and competition.  Some campers, who have participated in the program in other continents, have gone on to play competitive basketball internationally and at schools in the United States. 

"We are happy that the Basketball without Borders camp will take place for the first time in Asia and we are sure that the partnership between FIBA and NBA will help the sport grow in a basketball loving continent," said FIBA's Development Manager Zoran Radovic. "The camp will instill knowledge, commitment and leadership in its participants. This program is an example of how the basketball community unites for the good of the sport and it will help benefit national basketball federations across Asia".
 
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, healthy living and HIV/AIDS awareness, education and prevention. 

"We are much honored to partner with the NBA and FIBA to inaugurate the Basketball without Borders Asia in China," said CBA Executive Vice President and Secretary General Li Yuan Wei. "The camp will serve a useful purpose in bringing to live the concept of teamwork, international peace and friendship among the youths of Asia."

The camp in China will be highlighted by extensive community outreach activities, led by NBA Legend and Community Ambassador Bob Lanier, focusing on HIV/AIDS awareness, education and grassroots basketball development.  Efforts will culminate with an NBA Community Legacy Project, the NBA's premiere community initiative, which ranges from a refurbished recreation facility and/or the creation of a state-of-the-art Reading and Learning Center. 

The NBA and FIBA also will donate products, such as basketballs, rims and sporting goods to local basketball federations.  In addition to supporting the inaugural camp in Asia, BWB Marketing Partners will continue to work with the NBA and FIBA to support basketball development throughout the region.  McDonald's will deliver messaging on the importance of balanced, active lifestyles through on-site presence and customized programming.  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 Beijing area.

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.

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 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 China, the second annual Basketball without Borders Africa will return to Johannesburg, South Africa September 7-12 and 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.

For more information, please contact:

Sau Ching Cheong, NBA Asia, scheong@nba.com, (852) 2843-9668
Zoran Radovic, FIBA, radovic@fiba.com + 41 (22) 545 00 44