NBA’s Basketball Without Borders Program Reaching Israel
Since it’s inaugural year in 2001, Basketball Without Borders, an initiative created by the NBA and FIBA have visited 25 countries on 6 different continents. One of many purposes of the program is to use sports as a tool to promote togetherness as well as healthy living.
This summer, the NBA prepares its first trip to Israel in hopes of bringing children together during a time of increasing tensions and unrest in the Middle East.
“We’re looking forward to the chance to bring all communities together for this program,” said Kathy Behrens, NBA president of social responsibility and player programs. “This is going to be about bringing the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Druze and other communities together.”
The BWB camp will take place in the city of Netanya from August 13-16. Top teenage basketball talent from over 30-different countries, including Israel, will receiving coaching from NBA and FIBA players, coaches, as well as former stars such as Spurs legend David Robinson. The kids will also perform community outreach in Tel Aviv and Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.
“It’s a country that loves basketball,” Behrens said of Israel. “I think they will be a great host. It has an extraordinarily rich history. So I think the people who are going to be at the camp participating will learn a lot and certainly appreciate that aspect of it.”
According to Behrens, the NBA has also spoken to multiple active players about participating in the program, including Israeli-born star Omri Casspi who split the 2016-17 between the Sacramento Kings, the New Orleans Pelicans, and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“It’s great to see the NBA and FIBA recognize Israel’s basketball development efforts by hosting the camp there for the first time,” said Casspi, the first Israeli to play in an NBA game. “I look forward to working with Europe’s top male and female players and showing them the beauty and culture of my home country.”
The NBA undoubtedly continues to do its part on the world stage as the Basketball Without Borders program continues to make basketball a global sport.