BWB Africa Tips Off in Style
The annual 11th Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa camp tipped off at King Edward VII School in Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday morning. It is a consecutive BWB camp for Luol Deng, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha and Dikembe Mutombo with first visits from Bismack Biyombo, Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, Jerryd Bayless and Clarice Machanguana.
The four-day camp officially started with a press conference held on the main court where Amadou Gallo Fall, NBA Vice President for Development – Africa, introduced current and former NBA and WNBA players and coaches. Fall especially welcomed Adam Silver, NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, visiting South Africa for the first time. The Deputy Commissioner extended a warm welcome to all invited guests and emphasized NBA’s commitment to Basketball without Borders and the African continent.
For Oklahoma City Thunder’s Thabo Sefolosha this visit to the country of his father carries a special personal meaning as well.
“I grew up with my dad as a musician, so I saw a lot of South African artists coming to the house” Sefolosha said. “This had a big influence for me as a young child. Being able to come back to South Africa, and Africa, and give back, I am always happy to do that.”
Prior to the press conference, the 60 young African players participating in the camp took part in a life skills seminar hosted by Amadou Gallo Fall, Masai Ujiri and Thabo Sefolosha. The campers had an opportunity to learn about challenges off the court as well as recognize the importance of discipline and education.
The morning session closed with the players divided into groups working on the fundamentals of the game and holding scrimmages. Meanwhile, the highlight of the day came in the afternoon when NBA and WNBA players, coaches and legends hosted Special Olympics for over 100 youth at the school. Dikembe Mutombo welcomed all the participants and accompanied by Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka, Hasheem Thabeet and Clarise Machanguana, among others, encouraged the young players to participate.
As if the day had not been filled with enough excitement prior to that point, the most special moment came in the evening when Adam Silver and Amadou Gallo Fall announced a multiyear television and digital partnership between the NBA and SuperSport on ‘Thursday Night Live with Marawa’ broadcasted simultaneously across the continent via several SuperSport channels. It was a perfect ending of the first day and a grand opening of the 11th annual BWB Africa camp.