South Africa's basketball community

Basketball Without Borders makes it’s sixth appearance

By on September 9, 2008 in News

Basketball Without Borders (BWB) returned to Johannesburg for the 6th consecutive year since 2003 and yet again the American International School of Johannesburg (AISJ) had the pleasure of hosting this fine initiative. The five day camp ran from September 3-7 and more than 100 top (under 19) athletes from 23 countries around Africa were selected by FIBA, NBA and BSA to participate.

Each year the National Basketball Association (NBA) brings a few of their players to help out running the clinics and assist with charity work. The team was lead by the Legendary Congo Native ex Houston Rockets Center, Dikembe Muthombo Mukamba Jean Jaque Wamutombo, who we know as Dikembe Muthombo, and he was joined by Shareef Adbur-Rahim (Sacramento Kings), Caron Butler (Washington Wizards), Nick Collison (Oklahoma), Olympic Gold Medalist Jennifer Azzi and “our very own” Thabo Sefolosha of the Chicago Bulls; all NBA/WNBA players who made an appearance this year. Before heading for South Africa the players and team personel made a stop in Dakar to visit a non-profitable organisation, Sports for Education and Economic Development in Senegal (SEED), a basketball academy and a pediatric cancer unit at LeDantec Hospital to take part in a court dedication.

Together with Hoops4Hope, WNBA legend and Olympic Gold Medalist Jennifer Azzi held the first ever BWB Africa Girl’s Basketball Clinic teaching women’s health and promoting an active life style, “BWB has been trying to start this initiative for a couple of years and were only successful this year since many of the players volunteered to come help out with the men’s programme as its more popular…” said Jennifer. From what the WNBA legend has observed about South African sport there was a lack of support and infrastructure for women’s sport in general and not just women’s basketball. Jennifer is also the Ambassador of WNBA Cares and is starting her own women’s basketball programme; which she’d like to bring to Africa in the future.

Mybasketball had the pleasure of being at the camp and interviewing some of the NBA players and camp officials, like Thabo Sefolosha, whose parents moved to Switzerland during the Apartheid era when mixed marriages weren’t allowed. Twenty four year old Thabo has been playing professional basketball for four years and played in France and Italy when he got drafted by the Chicago Bulls. Sefolosha has been playing in the NBA for two years now and has been involved with the Swiss national team since the age of 18.

We also got a word from our very own Senior National point guard, Pat Engelbert, who’s been involved with BWB since it started 6 years ago, helping with coaching and skills training. Pat played pro ball in Serbia then went on to trial in Madrid Spain; where he’s currently playing and coaching. Pat is also involved with SEED and assists The Federation in finding South African players overseas and brining them back to home to share their skills with the campers. Pat has played in three African Champs and one Commonwealth Game for South Africa.

Thierry Kita who’s not just involved with Cape Tech and the Boston Celtics, but is also the director of Hoops4Hope South Africa (which has been in partnership with BWB for four years) has been involved with South African basketball since 1991 and was the Head Coach of the Student National Team that toured to Thailand last year for the World Student Games. Impressed with the structure of BWB that usually selects 10-15 players to get an opportunity to play in the US every year, Thierry was mostly impressed by them starting the ladies program this year round and giving African coaches a chance to develop their coaching skills.

The camp was a huge success and the Kids received a chance to develop not only their basketball skills but life skills as well. The sponsors truly came through for the camp making it extra special for the campers. Basketball Without Borders raises the stakes ever year and Mzanzi cannot wait to see what and who will be back next year for BWB 2009.

Report by Nthabiseng Mushi, photos by Kobie van Jaarsveld

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There Are 41 Brilliant Comments

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  1. kw3ku says:

    But like you said it is your opinion, glad you know it aint facts.

    6 years running my man? 6 years? Again what does SA have to show for it?
    Fact: 99% of them boys at the camp cant speak English bro
    5 or 6 players from SA makes it to the camp(we talking 9 provinces here)
    Most of them dont even make it to Varsity) my man these are our kid bros,family members etc.
    what the future of Africa looks like bro in everybodies eyes, Is that the legacy you wanna leave behind as the now generation?

    How many out there can artest your points? Given ofcourse you been there 3 times already..

    Bro ball is a way of life but I say lets prepare the young ones with the best weapon out there EDUCATION.. If ball compliments that lifestyle then yepeeeeeeeee!! A bonus
    thats just my 2cents worth

  2. kw3ku says:

    Neo is always on this forum, If its exposure you want about whats out there in terms of competition try knocking his door? BWB is under18’s competition!

  3. willie says:

    kw3ku, i guess we all have opinions and that is mine.for the record if i may, this was my 1st BWB. i can only ask you one question.what have you done to the kids at your team to make sure that they take education seriously and contribute for their success?

    you ask the kids who were at BWB this year and they will tell you that they have been told about the importance of also ask any kid i coached in my life and they will tell you that is the number one priority for me.

    on the other hand, i am exposed to competition and unfortunately we can’t all knock at Neo’s door to find out what is competition can we? as a player you need to be exposed to that competition to know what it takes to get there and surely Neo was exposed to the same competition to be where he is. that in turn makes him to be a player he is today. if he wasn’t exposed, maybe he wouldn’t have worked hard to be the player he is today.

    i thought by now everyone knows that bball is by all means trying to compliment education or else we wouldn’t have institutions like Vaal, UJ and many others offering scholarships to our bball players.

  4. Gazani says:

    I think we are missing the whole point of having projects such as BWB , league programmes such as GBL. and others. Bottom line is that basketball is played and will continue to be played. We are overlooking serious issues that are vital to the well being of the sport.

    let us speak african basketball except ours. Most African countries if not all treat and use the sport for the following

    1.1 As a base from which players can be controlled and mentored
    1.2 where players can make living out of the sport.
    1.3 Where players can be given the room to express their talent against their competiors with knowlegde that the do that on behalf of their country.
    1.4 To open doors filled of opportunities.

    just to mention few.

    Above all , lets us accept that we are not a sporting country , and that we do not use sports a source of income where people ,players ,coaches, investors can seek opportunities from. These has led to mal administration of the sport, lack of service delivery, failure by leadership to plan ahead and many other examples that we can share.

    Let us talk BSA

    I am sure every baller is aware that the previous leadership was disbanded , due to mal-administratrion and lack of good accounting records. This led to – lack of resources such as telephones. etc

    Let us face, other serious issues which proves thats , we are failing to administer the sports to the level which ,can uplift the standard of basketball in our country.

    1.1 We refer to associate members,(USSASA, SASSU, NDF,Wheelchair and PBL) to be part of decision making council and/or team when it comes to events associated with BSA however, the very same associate members do not include BSA in their decision making process.
    e.g wheelchair- which is a registered company under section 21 and has a separate constitution.

    This are some of the things which back track our sport from going forward,

    This was my take on the overall debate

  5. kim says:

    I think I understand the point that kw3ku is trying to make.You are basically saying BWB hasnt done anything to push bball forward.I disagree though on your opinion.Instead of asking what SA has to show for it,It would make sense to ask ask what has SA done to capitalise on BWB.Every year BWB comes here and we just see the yellow tshirts and nice white Golf shirts that they brought along.It is not BWB’s fault that we as provinces and BSA as a whole dont go beyond that 1 week program.

    For me its not the language that comes to play becos bball is a universal game.Yao Ming couldnt speak english but that doesnt mean he is uneducated or cant communicate with teammates.I cant speak sotho or tswana but I communicate well with my players.I dont know where the English comes in.I think joe and setgotlo have outlined that provinces must partake in the processes of decision making.What have WE done to ensure more kids go to this BWB either than complaining.

    Education,Education Education.Its one thing to talk education but its another to go stand in line for kids,fill in NSFAS forms,pay registration money for kids,talk to institutions of higher learning regarding bursaries etc.Some of us do that EVERY single year.Willie being 1 of those.I have lost countless players to the likes of UJ,Cape Tech,Natal Tech etc because their future were more important .The reality is that institutions still worship Soccer and Rugby and former white sporting codes.Bball adminstrators in institutions dont fight hard enough to get funds for kids to study.

    look at VUT.I respect VUT alot because they go out of their way to make sure that their kids get scholarships.Tsepo Nyewe and his team work non-stop to ensure that their program gets the best.Florsh and Zanele would go to under 18 tournaments to go and recruit.They recruit in Africa as well.When they come take your players then we cry FOUL.What are you giving your players so they can study?Which high schools are you building relationships so that kids from high school come to you institution.

    All these issues have nothing to do with BWB.All these issues come back to us.Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself If you are contributing to make bball better and stop blaming BWB!I havent gone there 3 times,I havent even gone once and might never be given the opportunity to go but I cant blame BWB for that.

  6. kw3ku says:

    You might not know it no you dont know it but truth is I do my part, individual accorlades dont matter much to some of US but the thank you’s and appreciation WE get speaks volumes.

    Not gonna make this personal as it is a debate some will agree and some wont – nature of the game.


  7. kim says:

    I am not in anyway attacking you as that would be unfair as I dont know you for me to begin to do that.All I am saying my brother is all the issues you raised come back to us and not BWB!I know that 99.9% of bballers dont get any accolades for the hard work they do but they do it for love.Even our senior national coach at one point didnt get paid for coaching the team.

    It would be unfair though to say BWB is a useless piece of exercise.

  8. Setlogelo says:

    Well, it seems like the telephones of the Federation have not been paid for a while. These things do happen. We hope something will be done to that effect.

    Hey kw3ku,

    Kim is talking about legacy. What legacy do we want to establish for basketball.

    No matter what he did, Vusi Mgobhozi and his team left the NBA BWB programme to the Federation. And some other relationships will come out of it in the future.

  9. Nthabiseng says:

    Im with Kim on this one. Guys BWB is not to be blaimed for player performance etc… They are actually trying to grow talent but the fact that players start playin ball at age 16 doesnt do much for players.Its up to feds and regions to improve da sport. Guys give BSA a chance to start over who knows what may happen in da near future;-) I for one believe that the sport is gona grow… THANKS TO DA BOYS IN BEIJING they for one are buildin the game up

  10. Setlogelo says:

    Charles Forster is selling the Scorepads at R120.00

    It is about time that everone who runs the league to promote the image of the sport by using the correct equipment.

  11. K says:

    this camp has been happening for 6 years, how has the basketball community improved on their preparation for the camp? it’s like SASSU national tournaments, every year it comes as a surprise (the teams always get chosen at the last minute…..). BWB will be here next year for sure, bigger and better, how do we do our bit to be ready? it’s a vehicle for us to create excitement for basketball in SA – let’s ride it like everyone’s riding the 2010 bus…….

  12. Joe says:

    I know I sound like a broken record, but I am still not hearing people saying what they are practically doing now, today. I am still not hearing people saying that they are forming structures and their plans for the structures. I am still not hearing how people are going ensure that their word is heared.

    The revolution starts on the ground, lets hear what is happening in districts. We all agree that the politics of bball needs to fixed before much can be achieved, what are we doing to fix this?

  13. Sam says:

    hi does anyone know where i can obtain the organogram of bsa that will show the heirachy of basketball structures from the top going down. the call is for all to do the dirty work but without knowing who to work with can prove brilliant ideas redudndant. well i need to do something but i need to understand the structures and how they will relate to me or where i would fit in.
    i think it would also be a great idea to have such infomation as a permanent feature on this site for blog, research and reference purposes. this will go further in identifying office bearers for accountability and facilitation purposes.

  14. Victor says:

    Hey Sam,

    We have been trying to figure out the organogram of basketball in SA since the beginning of 2008 and that is the purpose of the link SA basketball at the top so as soon as I have a complete picture I will post it up.


  15. Setlogelo says:

    I suppose the chart Sam is looking for will give a clear picture of the line of authority for the stewardship of basketball. The consitution of BSA is also critical in this regard. Thus I would advise the owners of the website to get a copy for the public space. Constitutional matters are very important as far as forming structures is concerned. Therefore, one cannot decide to just form a structure. There are legal processes that must be followed. I would like to think that a member of the Province must be present at the elections of regions and districts respectively.

    Joe, what is your take? You are the expert of these constitutional matters.

  16. caetani says:

    Lovers, wake-up in the of the SLAM-DUNK! Players i have digested enough from the 9th comment about da BWB scenes till to date and from what i can believe is that most comments are based on how we feel on how it should be done, rather than acknowledging the purpose of the true intentions of the BWB’s mission and vision. i agree with you Kim, when you pop-up the word “LEGACY” hence of what kind, if our grass-roots are dry ? Since we’ve opened the doors for corruption to corrupt our hearts and still pointing fingers at each other rather than evaluating the three fingers that are pointing back at our comments! Guys what are we painting? Are we painting an art of complaints than initiation? Do we believe that we have what it takes to take Bball from the dusty roads of ELOKSHINI to the SKY is the limit? In short let stop stressing the “I” word rather acknowledging the true meaning of sportsmanship and the values that are required for wayforwards. Lets us take a closer look on the mirror and work towards what we than imaginary debates. Dont take it personal! Its never abut you but the purpose of game.