The Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers spent some time in Senegal, Africa this past summer coaching young talented kids in the Basketball Without Borders Africa programs. He attended the camps with Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale. Also present in Senegal was Basketball Africa League President Amadou Fall, NBA Africa ambassador Dikembe Mutombo, Boston Celtics center Tacko Fall, and Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid. Rivers mentioned it was a life-changing experience for him and said he’s been meaning to get involved in the last ten years. “BWB was awesome. Something I want to do a lot more. I’ve wanted to get involved for about ten years. Players need to do it. We need to get more NBA players involved. They would learn so much themselves,” says Rivers.
Players are talking about it but are not 100% sure about helping out right now, but at least it’s on their mind. What would it mean for a player like an iconic player like LeBron James to support Basketball Without Borders, or play in an NBA Africa game during the summer. His presence will have the eyes of the world in Africa. When asked about getting involved with BWB, James tells MPN, “I’m not sure what the future holds for me, I’m a guy who lives in the present, but I do love how the game has spread all over the world. It has done many things for not only myself, family, and friends just by playing this beautiful game of ours.”
James has been a massive ambassador for international basketball. We will see in the future if he decides to participate in any endeavors the NBA has for Africa. James would have a significant impact on the BWB movement, and it would encourage other superstar players to get involved. In the summer of 2018, the NBA game had players such as Javale Mcgee from the Lakers, Serge Ibaka (Raptors), Khris Middleton (Bucks), and more. Expect to see more players supporting NBA Africa in the future.
During the BWB camp in Senegal, Africa, Fizdale said, “Some of the best players in our game, MVP candidates, are African born players.” Milwaukee Bucks MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Embiid are the African born MVP and MVP candidates he was mentioning. With Africa on the rise, more and more players will support the movement. Rivers states, “Africa is now when you watch those kids play, and it’s phenomenal. Those high school kids better get ready. These kids are hungry and want to make it.” Rivers believes these kids are in Africa are the future of the NBA. In the off-season, stay tuned for Rivers to continue to support Basketball Without Borders.