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Basketball Without Borders is a big hit in Angola

LUANDA (Basketball Without Borders) – The 14th edition of the Basketball without Borders Africa camp is in the history books and the hugely successful event in Angola will be remembered for a long time to come.

Tipping off at Pavilhao Multiusos do Kilamba in Luanda, 87 children from 26 African countries enjoyed being part of a historic first ever camp in Angola, who became only the third nation on the Continent to host it – following on from South Africa and Senegal.

As always, the climax of the camp came was the Boys and Girls All-Star Games. It rounded off a special moment for Orlando Magic center Bismack Biyombo, who applauded all the participants and especially the young Patrick Mwamba, who was crowned MVP.

He said, "It was awesome to see one of the kids from my camp to be the MVP here. I am really thankful that we got to do it here in Angola and that different people got exposed to what the NBA is doing in Africa."

Half-time witnessed basketball legends, including Victor Muzadi, Carlos Morais and Joaquim Gomes of Angola, all taking the court for a short exhibition game.

"As you can tell, everybody was excited, everybody was happy," enthused Gomes.

"We got an opportunity to exchange some experience with NBA players and I am just proud. Basketball is a way of life in Angola."

The atmosphere was exceptional at the camp with lots of energy and smiles along with the hard work and important messages

Earlier in the week, the camp was opened by NBA Vice President & Managing Director for Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall who was joined by Dikembe Mutombo, Helmarc Comercio & Industria CEO Helder Cruz and Angolan Minister of Youth and Sports Gonçalves Muandumba.

"It is a great honour to be hosting Basketball without Borders here in Angola for the first time," said Fall.

"Angola is a great basketball nation and hosting the camp here contributes to our efforts of growing the NBA’s footprint across the continent."

The NBA delegation also spent an afternoon at Blue Horizon Orphanage and School, where they had a chance to interact with the youth, participate in campus refurbishment projects and experience traditional Angolan culture. NBA Cares has donated art supplies, basketball equipment, school supplies and NBA merchandise.

Another highlight was a visit to a local school in Luanda to participate in a variety of activities supported by UNICEF’s Schools for Africa initiative which has helped more than 28.5 million children achieve the dream of an education. It reaches the most disadvantaged youth who suffer from the negative impact of HIV and AIDS, children affected by armed conflicts and natural disasters, and those with disabilities and special needs. NBA Cares also supported the Schools for Africa initiative during previous BWB Africa camps in South Africa.

The campers in Angola were treated to a number of scrimmages and positional development sessions with the likes of former NBA player Olumide Oyedeji, Salah Mejri of the Dallas Mavericks, Luc Mbah a Moute of the Los Angeles Clippers, Eric Bledsoe of the Phoenix Suns and WNBA Legend Jen Lacy and Senegal star Astou Ndiaye.

"I am excited to be part of the first ever Basketball without Borders in Angola and very happy to see the number of girls that are participating in it," said Ndiaye.

NBA Global Ambassador, Dikembe Mutombo added, "What these young girls are able to achieve on the court in such a short period of time is very impressive. What we are also doing during this camp is helping to develop them into responsible members of their communities."

Meanwhile Cody Zeller of the Charlotte Hornets, Thabo Sefolosha of the Atlanta Hawks and Bismack Biyombo held a life skills seminar on HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness, as well as some fun basketball drills.

It was the kind of session which perfectly encapsulated the important role Basketball Without Borders continues to play across the globe. And, the camp in Angola was deemed to have been a huge success and one which will leave a last legacy in the country.