Ujiri to Return as Director of Basketball without Borders in Johannesburg.

Basketball without Borders, an NBA and FIBA initiative.
Basketball without Borders, an NBA and FIBA initiative.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has announced that the 2013 edition of Basketball without Borders (BWB) will stage a return to Johannesburg, South Africa from August 29-September 1 for the tenth time out of the eleven editions of the annual global youth camp.

Basketball without Borders is the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development program that use sport to create positive social change. Sixty of the top young players (18 and under) will be co-hosted by the King Edward VII School and St John’s College in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The camp will feature NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo and NBA legend and compatriot (DRC) Bismack Biyombo (Charlotte Bobcats); Luol Deng (South Sudan) and Joakim Noah both of Chicago Bulls; Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Caveliers), Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks), and Oklahoma City Thunders teammates Serge Ibaka (Congo), Thabo Sefolosha and Hasheem Thabeet as camp coaches.

“We are very excited to be welcoming such a terrific contingent of NBA legends, players and coaches to South Africa for the 11th edition of Basketball without Borders Africa,” said Amadou Gallo Fall, NBA Vice President, Development Africa.

“The best young basketball players from across the continent will have a unique opportunity to learn from some of the game’s most inspiring players and coaches. In addition to working on their basketball fundamentals, the young players will participate in life-skills seminars while also having a chance to forge new friendship on and off the court which will last well beyond the camp.”

Defensive specialist Sefolosha is a regular visitor to South Africa, the country of his descent, where he helps facilitate a year round after school basketball program in the Mamelodi Township near Pretoria.

Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Sports and Recreation South Africa said: “As the Ministry of Sport we welcome back the Basketball without Borders Africa camp to South Africa. We are encouraged by the role it plays in developing and unleashing the potential of our youth and pride ourselves in this initiative.”

As part of the daily camp schedule, participants will also take part in life-skills seminars in partnership with Hoops 4 Hope and UNICEF on a range of topics such as leadership, character development, gender equity and HIV/AIDS prevention and education.

Through NBA Cares, the league’s global social responsibility program, the NBA players and coaches participate in community outreach efforts in the Johannesburg locality, highlighted by the creation of places for children and families to live, learn or play.

The NBA has created over 30 places to live, learn or play in Africa, including technology centres, libraries, youth hostels, dining facilities, health clinics, homes and basketball courts.

Aside from Sefolosha, Ibaka and Deng, who is making his third appearance, three NBA All-Stars completes the roster of NBA players making their first appearances at BWB Africa; the 2011/12 NBA Rookie of the Year Irvins, joins Al Horford and Noah whose father hails from Cameroon.

The 2011/12 NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irvin.
The 2011/12 NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irvin.

The coaching staff at BWB Africa 2013 is comprised of assistant coaches BJ Johnson (Houston Rockets), Monty Williams (New Orleans Pelicans) and former NBA head coaches Lionel Hollins and Nate McMillan. Athletic trainer Casey Smith (Dallas Mavericks) rounds out the coaching staff. Toronto Raptors General Manager and former Nigeria international Masai Ujiri returns as Camp Director.

Masai Ujiri Returns as Camp Director BWB Africa 2013.
Masai Ujiri Returns as Camp Director BWB Africa 2013.

Since the inaugural Africa 100 Camp in 2003, over 130 NBA and WNBA players, NBA team personnel and more than 1000 youth aged 18 and under have participated in the camp in Johannesburg and Dakar (2010), with six participants having made the transition to the NBA. Most recently, Senegalese centre Gorgui Dieng, the Most Valuable Player of the 2009 BWB Africa camp, was selected with the 21st pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz (subsequently traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.)

Nike, a BWB global partner since 2002, will again outfit the campers and coaches of all three camps with Nike apparel and footwear.

Since its inception, the NBA and FIBA have staged 33 BWB camps in 20 cities in 17 countries. More than 140 different current and former NBA/WNBA players have joined with more than 100 NBA coaches to act as mentors for more than 1,900 campers from just over 100 countries, with 27 BWB campers drafted into the NBA.

Prior to BWB Africa 2013, BWB Americas will make a return trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina from July 25-28, while BWB Europe will be hosted in Portugal for the first time when the camp visits Almada from August 15-18.