This week marked the announcement that this year’s Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Asia will be held June 23-26 in Melbourne, Australia. The event will be hosted by the NBA, the NBL and FIBA at Dandenong Basketball Stadium in Melbourne, marking the first Australian BWB event in the organization’s 15 year history. Online NBA sportsbook odds are sure to be affected when this Australian talent pool reaches the league.
“We are pleased to partner with FIBA and the NBL to bring the first Basketball Without Borders camp to Australia,” noted Scott Levy, NBA Asia Managing Director. “The league has seen a surge of Australian talent in recent years, and we look forward to supporting the next generation by giving them a platform to showcase their skills alongside their peers from throughout the region.”
Many other officials from all organizations involved have also voiced their support and excitement for the upcoming event. This will give the young, aspiring athletes of Australia and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region the chance to showcase and hone their skills with proven NBA and FIBA legends, current players and coaches. This event will be open to the best male players born in 1999, pairing them against each other to compete. BWB will also offer a girls camp and a Jr. NBA camp for younger locals.
The BWB has partnered with Nike (a partner since 2002) to provide camp-goers with fundamental equipment. This will equip participants with some of the best equipment available with which to play, and help to even the level of competition. Although exposing new talent is one key objective of BWB, officials make it clear that their first priority is development. This camp will give many youths the chance of a lifetime in learning from professional basketball players and coaches, adding to their skills both on and off the court.
Apart from the camp, BWB will be providing support to the local communities through NBA Cares. This includes youth basketball clinics, a youth wheelchair exhibition game, a court dedication and lectures and clinics on general life skills such as leadership, teamwork and character. These will affect lasting change in Melbourne and the surrounding areas for much longer than the duration of the BWB camp.
This first BWB camp was held in the summer of 2001 in Europe. Vlade Divac and Toni Kukoc reunited with their former Yugoslav national team to coach 50 children from across Central and Southeastern Europe.
Since the inception of Basketball Without Boarders, the organization has had more than 2,500 campers from 130 countries and territories, 37 of whom were eventually drafted into the NBA. At the start of the 2015-16 NBA season, 21 former BWB campers were on their team’s opening night roster. Though never stationed in Australia, FIBA and the NBA have hosted 45 camps across 22 countries and five continents. To date, 210 current and former NBA, WNBA and FIBA players have joined in assisting and supporting the BWB organization.
The full 2016 summer schedule for Basketball Without Borders will be released in the near future, with campers, coaches, and players being revealed before each camp begins.