Israel national team and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Omri Casspi took part in Basketball Without Borders Europe as a player in 2005 and will do so as a guide this year, with the camp to be held at The Wingate Institute in Netanya during August, the first time the event will take place in Israel..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The National Basketball Association, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Israel Basketball Association announced on Wednesday that the 16th edition of Basketball Without Borders Europe will be held at The Wingate Institute in Netanya on August 13-16, marking the first time that the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program will be held in Israel.
BWB Europe will bring together the top male and female players born in 2000 from across Europe to learn directly from NBA and FIBA players, legends and coaches and to compete against the best young players from the continent. BWB Europe will also include a variety of NBA Cares and Jr. NBA community outreach efforts with youth in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in partnership with local community organizations.
“Basketball Without Borders is an amazing program, and I’m fortunate that I was able to participate as a camper in 2005,” said Israel national team and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Omri Casspi.
“It’s great to see the NBA and FIBA recognize Israel’s basketball development efforts by hosting the camp there for the first time. I look forward to working with Europe’s top male and female players and showing them the beauty and culture of my home country.”
BWB has reached more than 2,720 participants from 134 countries and territories since 2001, with 43 campers drafted into the NBA.
Twenty-three former BWB campers, including 13 former BWB Europe campers, were on opening-night rosters for the 2016/17 season including Casspi, Danilo Gallinari (Denver Nuggets; Italy; BWB Europe 2003) and Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies; Spain; BWB Europe 2003).
The first-ever Basketball Without Borders camp took place in Europe in July 2001. Vlade Divac (Serbia) and Toni Kukoc (Croatia), together with former teammates from the Yugoslav national team, reunited to work with 50 children from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia and Montenegro at La Ghirada in Treviso, Italy.
The NBA and FIBA have staged 49 BWB camps in 30 cities across 25 countries on six continents.
“Hosting BWB in Israel will allow the NBA and FIBA to use basketball and the values of the game, including teamwork, integrity and respect, to bring together youth and community organizations from a variety of backgrounds and foster cultural understanding,” said Brooks Meek, NBA Vice President, International Basketball Operations & Head of Elite Basketball.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming Europe’s top male and female prospects to Israel in August.”
FIBA National Federations & Sport Director Zoran Radovic believes the camp and the upcoming EuroBasket tournament will help Israeli basketball take a step in the right direction.
“We are extremely happy that Israel will host Basketball Without Borders Europe for the first time, and we are confident this will enhance the development of young players in Israel,” he said.
“Hosting Basketball Without Borders in August and then hosting the Group Phase of FIBA EuroBasket 2017 in September will make for two very exciting basketball months in Israel as well as put a focus on European and local basketball heroes.”
The Israel Basketball Association is confident the camp will be a success.
“We are proud that Israel was chosen to host the event and for the opportunity to become a part of this wonderful basketball tradition,” read the IBA’s statement.
“With the NBA and FIBA we will work to make sure Europe’s top male and female players will experience Israel and the event in the best way.”