Basketball Without Borders returns to All-Star Weekend Camp for the first time since 2020.Basketball Without Borders returns to All-Star Weekend

In 2015, 17-year-old Lauri Markkanen participated in the NBA All-Star festivities. He was in New York with Basketball Without Borders’ first global camp as a player from Finland, participating in drills and scrimmages with other young star teenagers.

He returned to the All-Star Game this year for the first time as an NBA player, and while representing his hometown Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, he also served as the representative for Basketball Without Borders, which is returning for the first time in three years after a hiatus. caused by COVID-19. Forty teenagers from 27 different countries participate in training, activities and a single-elimination tournament. They will also attend the All-Star game on Sunday night.

Chris Ebersole, the NBA’s associate vice president of international basketball operations and elite basketball, said the All-Star Game will be the first NBA game many campers have attended. There, they will be able to see alumni including Markkanen, the first Finnish star, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard from Canada.

“It makes it tangible. The NBA, for a lot of young players, especially internationally, a lot of them who have never had a chance to go see an NBA game … to have those tangible (results) in front of you and see some of the players that are were in your same shoes just a few years ago…that’s pretty significant and impactful for campers. It seems a little more attainable knowing that they’re not that far away from that dream,” Ebersole said.

The NBA has a network of coaches and scouts in regional offices around the world who organize boot camps for the best international boys and girls basketball players. As a result, many players competing this weekend have been part of previous BWB camps in their respective regions.

This camp in the United States provides an opportunity for NBA teams to take a closer look at competing players. Ebersole said all 30 teams have representatives at the event scouting potential future NBA players. While scouts can see players’ skills, they also get to watch how they interact in the new environment, with teammates and coaches they’ve never met and often with training that isn’t their first language.

“NBA teams really appreciate this opportunity to not just see them in their comfort zone and in their home environment, but how they react to a completely new environment and not just how they play in those circumstances, but how they react and respond?” – Ebersol said.

A total of 38 BWB alumni are currently in the NBA. Twenty-three of them participated in BWB Global.

This weekend, players will go through anthropometric and athletic testing, movement efficiency, skill development, shooting, skills competitions and a 5-on-5 tournament culminating in a championship match. Nike, a BWB partner, provides clothing and footwear for campers and coaches.

Basketball Without Borders also announced that, for the first time, an all-girls camp will be held during the 2023 WNBA All-Star Weekend in July.

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