The NBA continues its efforts to expand basketball in Africa

Jamie C. Harris | 8/1/2019, 11:37 a.m.
The NBA’s fruitful Basketball Without Borders program concluded its 17th year in Senegal this week
NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum (fifth from the right) takes part in a ceremony last November in Saly Senegal opening a new NBA Academy Africa basketball training facility Contributed

The NBA’s fruitful Basketball Without Borders program concluded its 17th year in Senegal this week with 60 of the African continent’s top boys and girls players age 17 and under participating in activities that included positional skill development, shooting and skills competitions, 5-on-5 games, and daily life skills seminars focusing on health, leadership and communication.

In partnership with the International Basketball Federation and the Senegalese Basketball Federation, the comprehensive four-day gathering began on Sunday at the NBA Academy Africa in Saly, Senegal, which opened last November. The campers, some likely to be future NBA players following paths paved by Basketball Without Borders alumni Luc Mbah a Moute, a forward with the Los Angeles Clippers, Philadephia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid, and Toronto Raptors forward and 2019 NBA champion Pascal Siakim, were presented with an opportunity to receive invaluable instruction and counseling from established players, coaches and executives.

Mbah a Moute and Embiid, who was a BWB camper in 2011, served as coaches this past week along with a group of current and former NBA players that included Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdan, two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng, 2009 BWB participant alumna Gorgui Dieng, former Miami Heat star Chris Bosh and NBA Global Ambassador and 2015 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Dikembe Mutombo.

New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and Masai Ujiri, president of basketball operations for the Raptors, were among the contingent of coaches and executives in Senegal as the camp moved to Dakar for the final three days.

In addition to the activities for the select campers, the NBA and SEED Project hosted a dedication ceremony for two newly refurbished courts in the Ndiareme Limamoulaye district of Guediawaye in Dakar, and held basketball clinics for local boys and girls.