Olden Polynice, Mario Elie Set to Partake in Goodwill Trip to Haiti

As you’ll see below, the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) is embarking on a goodwill mission to Haiti next week. And as you’ll see on SLAMonline in the coming days, our own senior editor Tzvi Twersky will be reporting live from the Haiti. Anyways, for more on the upcoming mission here’s the NBRPA’s press release:

The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA), the only Association comprised of NBA, ABA, Harlem Globetrotters and WNBA alumni, will make a goodwill trip to Haiti on October 21-25, 2013. Sponsored in part by the Government of the Republic of Haiti, as well as private and public institutions in Haiti, the itinerary will include press events, site-seeing tours, basketball exhibitions, youth development sessions, community visits and more.  Former NBA players included on the trip will include Haitian-Americans Mario Elie (3-time NBA Champion) and Olden Polynice (Seattle SuperSonics), as well as LaRue Martin (former No. 1 overall pick), Dwight Davis (former No. 2 overall pick), Harvey Catchings (Milwaukee Bucks) and Eldridge Recasner (Atlanta Hawks).

“As a 501(c)3 charitable organization, the NBRPA is focused on giving back to the community,” said NBRPA President & CEO Arnie D. Fielkow, who will join the former NBA players in Haiti. “In the past year we’ve held more than 20 youth basketball clinics across the United States, including special stops in Sandy Hook, Conn. (shooting tragedy) and Moore, Okla. (tornado victims), and we’re eager to bring this initiative abroad to Haiti. Our Legends of Basketball are eager to give back, as well as learn about the island and lingering damage from earthquakes that rocked the country in 2010.”

With the help of Spalding, the NBRPA will donate basketball equipment to Haitian communities in need and help rebuild basketball courts. While the Haitian capitol of Port-au-Prince will serve as home base for the Legends of Basketball  during the tour, the NBRPA will also venture into the impoverished Central Plateau of Haiti and visit medical facilities in partnership with HealthShare Global, a United States-based non-governmental organization, alongside its sister Haitian organization, Met a Share for Haiti.

“Haiti is a blank canvas, a true untapped market for athletes and sport infrastructure, marketing and sponsorship development,” said Jerry Tardieu, President of the Council of Economic and Social Development (Conseil de Developpement Economique et Social )for Haiti. “Using a business approach will benefit long term, establishing a sustainable model for Haiti. The participation of international partners, knowledge, assistance and resources is a wonderful opportunity to create a new vision for sport as a tool for development in our country.”