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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

There Are 41 Brilliant Comments

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. willie says:

    i have been following this website for sometime now with all the debates here. i was fortunate enough to be part of the BWB this year and was my first. i believe that as coaches we have a lot to learn from the camp and as such, it would be great if BSA rotate coaches every year. am saying this because in the past a coach will go to BWB 4 years in a row and which is not beneficial to us at all.

    i was also disappointed that we had only 06 coaches there from SA but had almost 12 or so referees. to me it would have been great if we had as many coaches as possible attending the camp. what i have picked up from the camp and i might be wrong is that we still have a long way to catch-up with countries like angola, senegal, nigeria, tunisia, egypt etc. we as coaches do not teach our players basics and stress on them at our training sessions. having observed all the kids from the countries mentioned above, they know the simple basketball basics that our players lack and that makes them better players.

  2. Nthabiseng says:

    It was so much fun at BWB and I personally learnt alot about how we can grow basketball, especailly ladies ball

  3. Gazani says:

    I must say that the five days at BWB were the most frutifull days of my career when it comes to basketball. The only deferrence between us ( South Africans) and the rest of the world as that we treat sports as hobbie while they treat sports as a way of living. these can be confirmed by the dismal perfomance of our national soccer team and the poorest olympic perfomance since inception.

    I also agree with the previous speaker that we need to give most of our local coaches an opportunity to experience the gesture, passion, knowledge that is offered at the camp. This can help improve the standard of coaching thus improving basketball in our country. I suggest that coaches be given two opportunities to attend the camp-

    One thing thats stood first in my mind is the discipline of the camp organisers as well as the players and coaches.
    they kept everything on time.
    This also confirms my point above that they treat the sport as a way of living.

    The fact that we still do not have any professional league running and that the game can not be referred and /or used as a source of income makes it very difficult to grow the sports .attract investors, players and supporters through out the country.

    NB: The camp must recognise our local coaches and give them opportunity to showcase their talent and share the little knowlegde they have- exchange of ideas -African and American basketball

    Limpopo Basketball

    The Association will be runing coaching clinics for the next seven weeks , in five districts. The first clinics will commence this weekend in two districts namely, capricorn and Mopani Districts. These initiative is powered by the department of sports – province as part of its mandate to develop the sports.

    As LBA , we are very excited about the initiative, and will use the opportunity to create and build new relationships which will be for the benfit of the sport.

    specific details regarding the date and v anues will follow shortly

  4. neo says:

    My take on the participation in the camp is that, it is who you know. Basketball is a dynamic sport so thais year wont be the same as last year and next year will definately wont be like this year. The problem for me Willie is not seeing the same faces evry year but not seeing other coaches involved. If it means BSA has to foot the bill to bring in atleast two coaches per province so be it. In that sense it creat an opportunity for SA coaches to have a commission. The other thing is the attitude of individuals. Coaches would brag about how mant pairs of NBA socks they managed to smuggle out of the locker room while the same socks were meant for them anyway. Some coaches take the BWB seriously and some go along for the ride.

    I was supposed to go to BWB last year but couldnt because of work related factors, when I managed to go on the final day one of the Amiracan coaches told me how disappointed he was by the level of unprofessionalism of the coaches.

    We know that BWB is coming again next year BSA need to recognise the coaches who are tirelessly working hard at coaching. Im sick of seeing coaches pop up from njowhere whom you know for a fact that they are just there for the ride. It starts at provincial level, provinces need to identify the coaches with the passion and will to take this sport foward coupled with the willingness to learn. Lts take ourselves seriously and only then will our sport be taken seriously.


  5. willie says:

    i think i also observed the same thing this year of how our coaches (african coaches) are unprofessional. that is one thing we need to learn as coaches that as much as we expect our players to behave in a certain manner we should also do that.

    i agree with you Neo when saying bball is dynamic. my issue is that if we send 6 coaches every year, why keep on sending the same faces when you can basically rotate them around the country. we sure have a lot of coaches who deserve to get the exposure. for argument sake, if i went this year then i should atleast go in 2010 or 2011. it has to benefit everyone involved in developing bball.

  6. Setlogelo says:

    I have learnt long ago that there are some people who are reluctant to take a back seat and offer opportunities of growth and development to their peers. They feel threatened by the perceived anticipated success of the individual in the sport.
    On the other hand I have observed how people destroy their own opportunities by thinking they know better than their authorities. They ignore the laws of humility which are the pinnacle of becoming a better person.
    Moreover people have the habit of not talking. If you are good and want to attend such great projects, tell those who are in a better position to offer opportunities. However our leaders must learn to identify talent and nurture it. They must learn to delegate authority, the skill that will help them establish a legacy in the sport.

    At the moment our game is too individualistic. And many structural examples attest to that.

  7. Interested says:

    We talk about coaches going to BWB for the ride and even though some of them have a genuine interest in the game, there is NO TRANSPARENCY in their selection.

    Then there are the plyrs. HOW DO THE SA PLYRS GET PICKED TO GO TO BWB?

    Every year its the same issue. You see players that are there because of who they play fo or who their coach is instead of how talented they are. Some even go for the gear that comes with BWB & will not improve as plyrs no matter what.

    What does this say to any aspiring baller? We are robbing our FUTURE players of this opportunity to showcase the talent that SA has to offer by taking token players to this camp.

  8. baller says:

    the question should be asked again. how are coaches and players selected to attend BWB or even to coach the national team?

  9. neo says:

    My question is were there any players from the Eastern Cape? I mean they won the U17 championship this year so there must be a couple of players from there.

  10. Me says:

    Yeah i saw one player. Who chose the girls who went to the clinic?

  11. willie says:

    what i know is that all the players that were at the camp are the current under 19 nationall team.

  12. Joe says:

    What all this boils down to is coordination. More than anything else this is the main purpose for the existence of structures: to ensure fairness. The structures exist as a forum where all can sit together and plan and decide.

    Again, BSA is made up of provincial associations and associate members, therefore if we want to influence BSA, we need to do that through provinces and the appropriate associate member.

    The reason I am repeating this is that it seems ballers are still not calling for thier provinces to account to them. We sit wait for something to happen, then look for someone to blame if we are not included or satisfied.

    For instance, the BSA constitution accomodates for a Coaches Commission, GBA resolved this year to form a Gauteng Coaches Commission. If these committees were in place, we would not be having the above discussion cause it is in the terms of reference of these committees to plan for such events and criteria for selection.



    Therefore the question is, did any of us discuss the BWB with our provinces or associate structures beforehand, as we knew long ago that BWB is coming? Especially, when we were already unhappy with the previous editions.

    We can sit and write here for the next ten years, but if we do not communicate our needs to the structures and hold them acountable, nothing will change unless we change it.

    The change that we are waiting for is us.

  13. willie says:

    i will support what Joe is saying. if we not willing to be part of our provincial structures then we will always have problems that go unresolved for years. we all are aware that BSA is run by the interim committee which their mandate ends in October. what have we done at the provincial level to ensure that when there are elections our voices are heard and we as provinces elect the people we want to see leading us.

    at the end, through our provincial structures BSA will be able to account to us as bball custodians. we therefore will in a way be able to avoid
    /minimise the mess we find bball in now.

  14. Nthabiseng says:

    Question. As players etc do we always need to ask the people with authority at provincial level on what is happening or should they provide us with the necessary info we need to know? a regular update on what is happening would not kill anyone. Takin 5min at games and making pubic service announcements wont harm anyone, or am i out ofline?

  15. neo says:

    The only way to move foward as a human being and individual is not to sit and wait for things to happen but make things happen. there are sum issues that people might think they are not relevant to you hence not tell while on the other hand you are very much interested. Nthabiseng I think you should think how we ended up in this mess. we were waiting for things to happen from the old regime and things did happen, all the negative things. In school we were taught by our teachers to always ask no matter how irelevant or stupid it may sound cos thats where you get your answers to all the questions we debating about.


  16. kim says:

    Greeting Ballers
    Well this BWB is something that I have given up on.It has been almost 5 years that I have been trying to going to this damn BWB.It has got to a point where I agree with Neo that,It depends who you know.I believe it even goes beyond that becos it is a matter of why people in power dont want you to be part of this BWB.This year I decided that I would BEG to be part but that didnt work.

    When I was in the Eastern Cape I was told it was for developing coaches and as such I couldnt go as I had exposure and had been coaching the SA SASSU team.I was told that I must give up and coming coaches a chance.This happened 3 years in a row.I called one of the Vice-presidents last year,once again BEGGING to be part but was told that opportunities will be given to coaches that coached under 18 teams that qualified for IPT’s.

    Maybe the guys that have gone before can help me with a strategy on who can I get along or bribe orblackmail for me to go to this BWB?I am now surprised that some national team coaches(current and former),not 1 but more than 1,were part of the BWB.Maybe there is a blacklist for these things as Joe once alluded that he was ‘blacklisted’.

  17. kim says:

    Coaches that went to BWB,please share some stuff with us when the opportunity arises.

  18. willie says:

    Kim howzit. well, i share your frustrations on BWB. atleast you have numbers to call and try bribe someone haha. on a serious note thou, i believe that bball is greater than any individual. people in the leadership forget that they are there to serve the greater bball community. i honestly don’t think you need to beg anyone to attend the camp. i mean you for one should have gone there long ago. as a national coach it would have benefited you a lot.

    to me BWB should benefit everyone involved in coaching basketball and that is why am also worried that we have more referees attending the camp than coaches. surely we can get atleast 12 to 15 coaches there. on the other hand the selection criteria should be done by provinces and not from the National Office except if its national coaches.

    unfortunately they don’t give us manuals but if you need anything i learned from the camp, you very much welcome.

  19. baller says:

    who are you calling at BSA then i also try my luck..i need some free stuff from BWB..

  20. kw3ku says:

    Gents, once more I ask other than serving as a recruitment camp for the NBA what is BWB to SA? 6 years running now!!!!!

  21. willie says:

    i will try explain the benefit i believe BWB offers to SA in my opinion kw3ku.

    1st- it exposes our youngsters to the level of bball around the african continent;
    2nd- our players get to see where they lack in terms of bball skills and they are then able to improve and become better players;
    3rd- when these kids are in the national team, they will become better competitors as they meet most of the players and get to play with them at BWB;
    4th- it teaches our kids that there is more to life than basketball and them being told that by their role models makes a lot of difference;
    5th- as coaches we are also exposed to basketball in the continent;
    6th- coaches learn from their african counter parts and understand why their programs are developing;
    7th- coaches are taught how to relate to players and parents and also organise their teams;
    8th- lastly relationships are build that can contribute to the development of bball in the country.

    that is only my opinion and what i have observed and think we should take out from the camp. i agree that NBA uses that as a scouting program but at the end they inpart knowledge that is useful to young players and our coaches.

  22. Nthabiseng says:

    BWB does not only focuse on benifiting SA its about the whole of Africa

  23. willie says:

    Nthabiseng, i was responding to kw3ku on what BWB offers to SA.

  24. Setlogelo says:

    Does BSA have a telephone number?

    The number 011683 3824 is always engaged.

    Perhaps it is not working. That will be bad for the image.

    I want to order Score Pads for us here.

    Please help.

  25. kim says:

    There are like you lucas,never available(lol)