On Monday, August 4, the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, through our Sports Envoy Program, partnered with the Mogale City Sports Development Office to organize a mentoring session and basketball clinic for 100 students from Kagiso-Lusaka Township. Former WNBA players Kelley Cain and Clarisse Machanguana, and NBA representatives Neal Meyer and Kornelia Semmelink conducted clinics with participants. The group also held a session at the Boys and Girls Town in Randfontein which houses at-risk youth between the ages of 9 and 16. Both the youth and staff were excited to receive their international guests, and even without a basketball court the group enjoyed the camaraderie of participating in drills and other exercises.
The following day, a larger contingent of NBA and WNBA players were at the American International School in Johannesburg (AISJ) to kick-off the Basketball Without Borders (BWB) camp. The delegation later attended a launch reception hosted by U.S. Consul General Earl Miller. Fikile Mbalula (Minister of Sport and Recreation in South Africa) commented that, “The NBA has shown sincere commitment to social responsibility and basketball development globally. Basketball as a sport plays a significant role in the National Sport and Recreation Plan and we look forward to welcoming the NBA and the best young talent from around the continent.” It is clear the visit by BWB was long awaited and well received.
BWB is the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Federation of International Basketball Association’s (FIBA) effort, started in 2001, to create a worldwide basketball development and community outreach program. The program’s aim is to unite younger players, while promoting the sport and encouraging social transformation in the areas of education, health, character development, leadership and wellness. Programs generally conclude with a NBA Cares Legacy Project, which assists in the development of safe places where kids and families can live, learn or play. For more information about BWB, click here.