Department of State Partners with NBA to Reach Out To Youth Overseas Through Basketball

Media Note
Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
July 13, 2009

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Sports United office, in partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), is conducting a series of Sports Envoy programs this summer. From May to September, current and former NBA and WNBA players will travel as ECA Sports Envoys to four regions of the world, leading basketball clinics in Qatar, Bahrain, Uganda, Mozambique, Georgia and the Philippines. The basketball players and coaches will conduct drills and team-building activities, as well as engage local youth in a dialogue on the importance of education, teamwork, leadership, and respect for diversity.

Two of the envoys, NBA legend Sam Perkins and Olympic gold medalist and Assistant Coach at Auburn University Carla McGhee, traveled in May to Qatar where they visited schools, taught skills clinics, and spoke on the importance of proper fitness and nutrition. WNBA star and four-time gold medal-winning Olympian Teresa Edwards will travel to Mozambique to showcase the possibilities for women in sports. Orlando Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick, and Chicago Bulls’ power forward Tyrus Thomas will demonstrate basketball techniques and discuss the importance of education and positive health practices for young people in Mozambique and Uganda.

In addition Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra and Assistant Coach David Fizdale will conduct leadership clinics for coaches and share their basketball expertise with underprivileged teens in Manila and Zamboanga, the Philippines.

The complete series of Sports Envoy programs includes the following:

May 27-31 QatarSam Perkins & Carla McGhee
June 12-18 
BahrainJerome Williams & Andrea Stinson
July 27 - August 2PhilippinesErik Spoelstra, David Fizdale & Sue Wicks
August 3-8GeorgiaVladimir Stephania & Chantelle Anderson
August 29 – Sept. 1
MozambiqueJ.J. Redick & Teresa Edwards
September 7-10 
UgandaTyrus Thomas & Nykesha Sales

For more information, contact Darlene Kirk, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 202-203-7616 or To learn more about this sports initiative, read bios of the players, and to follow this program through the players’ and coaches’ blogs visit

PRN: 2009/717