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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Hoops Tour for Kyrgyzstan Youth

Media Note
Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 19, 2009


The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs SportsUnited office, in partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), will bring seven young male basketball players and two coaches from Kyrgyzstan for a Sports Visitor program, March 21-31.

This initiative is a follow-up to last summer’s successful Sports Envoy program that sent former NBA player Sam Perkins and Becky Bonner, an assistant coach of the University of Louisville’s women’s basketball team, to conduct basketball clinics for youth in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, August 15-25, 2008.

The group will participate in basketball skills training, and sessions on conditioning, nutrition, and sports and disabilities in Washington, DC. They also will visit local schools to interact with American basketball players their own age, 15-21, and attend a Washington Wizards game. They then will travel to Indianapolis where Perkins, now Vice President of Player Programs for the Indiana Pacers, will conduct a basketball clinic for them. Their program concludes with a trip to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship game, a Pacers game, and a visit to the NCAA Hall of Champions.

This delegation represents the survivors of the Kyrgyz basketball team who were on their way to a tournament in Iran when their plane crashed on August 24, 2008, killing 10 of the 17 members of their squad. While in Kyrgyzstan, Perkins and Bonner conducted a masters clinic for these young basketball players.

For more information, please contact Darlene Kirk at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs on 202-203-7616 or To learn more about SportsUnited programs, visit:


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