BWB Europe

FIBA - Basketball Without Borders returns to europe with top european stars

Featuring Utah Jazz Andrei Kirilenko and Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki

GENEVA (Basketball Without Borders) - Andrei Kirilenko of Russia and Dirk Nowitzkiwill of Germany lead a group of FIBA/NBA players as camp coaches for Basketball without Borders Europe, it was announced today by the National Basketball Association and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).  Scheduled to take place July 28-31 at La Ghirada in Treviso, Italy, Basketball without Borders is a basketball instructional camp for young people that promotes friendship, healthy living and education through sport and features current and former FIBA/NBA players and team personnel. 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."

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 Europe, Basketball without Borders will take place in Asia for the first time in Beijing, China July 14-17.  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. 

Other FIBA/NBA players taking part in Basketball without Borders Europe include Utah Jazz Gordan Giricek (Croatia), Charlotte Bobcats Primoz Brezec (Slovenia), and Milwaukee Bucks Zaza Pachulia (Georgia).  In addition NBA team personnel Tony Barone (Memphis Grizzlies), Greg Ballard (Atlanta Hawks), Vinny Del Negro (Phoenix Suns) and Denver Nuggets Head Coach George Karl also will help coach the camp.  Former NCAA coach Rick Majerus also will take part.  Marin Sedlacek (Serbia and Montenegro), who is a FIBA Instructor for Europe, Asia and Africa with 25 years of coaching experience, will oversee as camp director for the fourth time. 

One of the goals of Basketball without Borders Europe is to help explore, develop and nurture the top basketball talent in Europe.  Selected by FIBA and the NBA, in conjunction with local basketball federations, based on their basketball skills, leadership abilities and dedication to the sport of basketball, the camp will feature 50 players (ages 19 & under) from 20 countries across the continent to take part in basketball instruction and competition.  Past participants in Europe, Americas and Africa have gone on to play competitive basketball internationally and at schools in the United States.

"We are very proud to announce the fifth consecutive Basketball without Borders Europe camp and a return to La Ghirada in Treviso," said FIBA's Development Manager Zoran Radovic.  "Based on past success, the camp has become the most complete camp experience in Europe, where FIBA and the NBA work together to emphasize the importance of hard work, dedication, teamwork and sportsmanship to campers.   With the help of UNICEF, the message of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention to participants will provide additional value and make this event unique in the basketball world."

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 a seminar led by UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, focusing on education and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. The seminar will stress the importance of communication with families, peers, and communities about HIV/AIDS prevention and education, detailing not only the global impact but also the country-wide issues.  Each camper will receive a personalized booklet that will include national, regional, and global statistics, basic HIV/AIDS information, UNICEF background information, and contact information for the UNICEF office in each camper's home country, as well as a list of online resources to encourage continued involvement after the camp. 

"More than half of the nearly 14,000 people newly infected with HIV each day are under 25 years of age. And while young people are hardest hit by the HIV/ AIDS pandemic, they are also the key to beating it," said President of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Charles J. Lyons.  "The behavior and skills they learn now will help shape the future course of HIV/AIDS around the world.  Basketball without Borders understands this and has responded to this growing crisis by supporting UNICEF's efforts at preventive education."

Co-organized by the NBA and FIBA, the camp features McDonald's, Nike and Spalding as BWB Marketing Partners.  During the three-day basketball camp, Nike will provide all participants with footwear.  McDonald's will promote messaging on the importance of balanced, active lifestyles and have on-site presence.

The NBA and FIBA also will donate products, such as basketballs, rims and sporting goods to local basketball federations.  Owned and operated by United Colors of Benetton, La Ghirada in Treviso, Italy will host the event for the fourth time. Campers will have the opportunity to practice their basketball skills in the professional surroundings of the Benetton Treviso basketball team.

"We are proud to host Basketball without Borders once again and to be associated with the NBA, UNICEF, Nike and FIBA, in the name of basketball, a universal language" said Benetton Group CEO Mr. Gilberto Benetton.

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.

"I am very excited to be participating in my first Basketball without Borders camp where we will have an opportunity to really make a difference in these kids lives through the language of basketball," said Nowitzki.  "After hearing the many wonderful stories from other players and coaches from past, I feel really lucky to be a part of it."

For more information, please contact:

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