Tag: Basketball Without Borders

Dikembe Mutombo Africa

Video: NBA stars head to Africa for Basketball without Borders

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Growing basketball — and in the NBA’s eyes it’s brand of basketball — in Africa is rife with challenges.

But for a decade now the NBA has been trying through its Basketball Without Borders program. Trying to find something through sport that can help unite people all over the continent that has been ravaged by draught and war. Trying to spread a love of the game.

Recently a trio of former Georgetown stars — Dikembe Mutombo, Patrick Ewing, and Alonzo Morning — went to Africa to promote the game. Below is some video of their trip. Enjoy.

Winderman: Former Georgetown brawlers Ewing, Mourning unite for South Africa

Alonzo Mourning, Patrick Ewing
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The enduring memory of Alonzo Mourning and Patrick Ewing is of Georgetown alums who didn’t allow their Hoya loyalties to get in the way of a healthy scrum.

See: Heat-Knicks, circa late-’90s.

Yet Tuesday, as the two spoke on an NBA-arranged conference call to detail their participation, along with fellow former Hoya Dikembe Mutombo, on an upcoming Basketball Without Borders tour of South Africa, the former All-Star centers and fierce playoff combatants had no interest in fanning any flames.

Instead, the duo addressed the brawl earlier this week in China between a Georgetown touring summer team and a Chinese professional team.

Mourning, who now works as a Miami Heat executive, serves on Georgetown’s board of directors.

“I speak for all of our board members and all of the representatives of the university, and that’s not Georgetown and that’s not the image we portray,” he said.

The two teams eventually met at the airport to sort our differences after their exhibition was cut short by the brawl that eventually was featured prominently on ESPN.

“This was an opportunity for the university to get some global exposure, and this is not the image you want to portray,” Mourning said.

“But I don’t know all the facts and how everything went down. You just hate to see things like that. Just hopefully the thought of it can diminish sooner than later because that’s not what the university is about.”

Ewing, an Orlando Magic assistant coach, acknowledged the moment as a black eye for the Hoyas program.

“You try to move past it,” he said.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Vlade Divac celebrates success of Basketball Without Borders

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Basketball can bring people together. Fathers and sons. Different races. Different religions. None of that matters on the court.

A decade ago, Vlade Divac and the United Nations started using basketball to bring together youth divided by the war that tore apart the former Yugoslavia.

Divac is now enjoying the success of the program, something he talked about with Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated in a real must-read story.

“What had happened was Vlade and I were in the [NBA’s] New York offices on a Sunday, where he was shooting a commercial for the United Nations,” recalled Kim Bohuny, the senior vice president of international basketball operations who essentially serves as the NBA’s global ambassador. “A gentleman from the U.N. said, ‘We don’t know what to do — we’ve tried music, we’ve tried soccer, and nothing is working to get our young children together. We think the only thing that could possibly work is basketball. Do you think the NBA would be interested in bringing together young children from all six countries?’ “

Divac worked with the U.N. and Toni Kukoc — Divac and Kukoc had been Yugoslavian teammates who no longer spoke as Divac was now Serbian and Kukoc Croatian.

From the first camp held in neutral Italy and bringing together youth from the six countries that had once been Yugoslavia the Basketball Without Borders program has grown to a worldwide phenomenon.

Last month, another camp was held in Rio de Janeiro; another camp will be held next month in South Africa. More than 1,600 teenage stars — hand-picked as the best in their regions — will have attended these BWB camps over the last decade. Seventeen have been drafted into the NBA, including Marc Gasol, Andrea Bargnani, Danilo Gallinari, Nicolas Batum and Omri Casspi.

Divac had a very good NBA career, but the legacy of this program may be his biggest gift to basketball. And to youth in troubled countries.