Only five months after President Barack Obama ordered diplomatic relations between American and Cuba to be restored, the NBA announced they are going to be the first pro sports league to host an event in Cuba.The league will hold a four-day development camp and host clinics for kids from April 23-26. Recently retired two-time MVP Steve Nash, newly elected Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo, and former WNBA star Ticha Penicheiro will take part, among others.
Although there are no Cuban players in the NBA today, the island does have a surprisingly strong basketball culture. The Cuban men’s national team has played in six Olympics and took the bronze medal in 1972.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced today that they will host their first joint basketball development camp in Havana, Cuba April 23-26.
Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo, and WNBA Legend Ticha Penicheiro will lead the four-day camp with the Cuban Men’s and Women’s National Teams, and community outreach projects in association with the Cuban sports ministry, INDER, and the Cuban Basketball Federation (CBF).
For the first time, the NBA and FIBA will invite two players and one coach from Cuba to participate in the upcoming Basketball without Borders camp.
“This is a great day for Cuban basketball and our federation,” said CBF President Ruperto Herrera. “To have both the NBA and FIBA collaborate on youth instruction and the development of the game in our country is magnificent. We thank the Republic of Cuba and INDER for opening the doors for these basketball camps that will end up benefiting the future of national and international basketball.”
“We’ve seen the bridges that basketball can build between cultures,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum. “We look forward to sharing the values of our game with Cuban youth and learning together through the common language of sports.”
“In the continued effort to strengthen our national federations, it is extremely gratifying to see Cuba serve as the center of a development camp of this magnitude,” said FIBA President Horacio Muratore. “This is a country that loves basketball and we are proud to work together with the NBA on this historic venture.”
Through NBA Cares, the league’s global social responsibility program, the NBA and FIBA will refurbish three basketball courts and host youth basketball clinics at two Havana locations. Tatum will join the legends and local officials to participate in the court dedication ceremonies focused on encouraging healthy, active lifestyles and teaching the values of the game such as teamwork, respect and dedication.
Orlando Magic Head Coach James Borrego, Utah Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz Assistant Coach Brad Jones, USA Basketball Youth Development Coach Don Showalter, and Director of Basketball Academy of the Americas Victor Ojeda will participate in training camp efforts for the Cuban Men’s and Women’s National Teams at the senior (18+) and junior levels. Additionally, the coaches will be joined by Washington Wizards Vice President of Basketball Administration Tommy Sheppard, New York Knicks Associate Athletic Trainer Anthony Goenaga, and FIBA Americas Referee Geraldo Fontana to host workshops for coaches, trainers, and other sports professionals.
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