Thursday June 4 2009 – 10:08am Eastern (Toronto, ON)

Just released by the NBA …

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U.S. Olympians Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, and Dwight Howard will headline Basketball without Borders 2009 it was announced today by the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). Basketball without Borders (BWB) is the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development program that uses the sport to create positive social change in the areas of education, health and wellness. The camps will be held in Beijing, China, Mexico City, Mexico and Johannesburg, South Africa.

“Basketball without Borders helps us to grow the game of basketball and bring attention to important social issues that affect communities around the world,” said Kathleen Behrens, NBA Executive Vice President, Social Responsibility and Player Programs. “We know that by teaching the values of the game – teamwork, sportsmanship, hard work, and healthy living our current and former players and coaches can also make a lasting impact on communities in need.”

Two NBA players will bring the camp to their home countries this summer. Houston Rockets center Yao Ming will lead Basketball without Borders Asia in Beijing, China July 30 to Aug. 2 and Basketball without Borders Americas will feature Eduardo Najera of the New Jersey Nets in Mexico City, Mexico from Aug. 6 to 9. For the seventh consecutive year, Basketball without Borders Africa will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from Sept. 2 to 6 starring Boozer, Bosh, Howard and Slam Dunk champion New York Knicks’ Nate Robinson.

“Basketball without Borders is a unique program in that it emphasizes more than basketball skills in top-young talent” said FIBA Development Director Zoran Radovic. “Campers benefit from both the highest level of basketball instruction and they are also equipped with the tools to make a positive impact among their peers and become role-models in their communities.”

The top youth players 19 and under from Asia, Latin America and Africa, as selected by the NBA, FIBA and participating federations, will train under NBA players and coaches and compete against their peers. Campers will be divided into teams independent of race, religion or nationality to promote friendship and diversity. NBA players will partner with local community groups to lead daily life-skills sessions focusing on the importance of education, leadership, character development, health and wellness. Through NBA Cares, the league’s social responsibility initiative, NBA players and coaches will participate in extensive community outreach programs with local nonprofit organizations including the creation of places for children and families to live, learn or play.

Nike, a BWB partner since 2002, will again outfit the campers and coaches with Nike apparel. “Basketball without Borders teaches young basketball players the importance of hard work, dedication, teamwork and sportsmanship,” said George Raveling, Global Director, Nike Basketball Sports Marketing. “These are all vital attributes to the young campers, which will serve them well in the future both on and off the court, and we are proud to be working with the NBA and FIBA to promote these values.”

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Good on Bosh for taking part in such a worthy cause.

E. Smith

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