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Diplomacy in Action

Department of State Partners with NBA and WNBA to Reach Out to Youth Overseas

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 24, 2010


Celebrating six years of cooperation with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs SportsUnited Office is conducting a series of Sports Envoy programs this summer. From May to August, current and former NBA and WNBA players will travel as Sports Envoys to four regions of the world reaching youth in Indonesia, Tunisia, Serbia, Cape Verde and Malawi. 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.

Among the Sports Envoy alumni are WNBA President Donna Orender; current Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra; NBA Legend Sam Perkins; plus women’s basketball greats Cynthia Cooper and Sue Wicks. Since 2004, 39 NBA and WNBA players and coaches have visited 17 different countries for the SportsUnited Office, where they have conducted hundreds of basketball clinics for thousands of young boys and girls and coaches.

In addition, the SportsUnited Office has worked closely with the NBA and WNBA to enhance its Sports Visitor programs bringing young players and coaches to the U.S. from around the world. The young basketball visitors and their coaches typically attend a NBA or a WNBA game, meet with NBA and WNBA players and coaches, and participate in professionally organized basketball clinics. Helping making some of our visitors’ experiences particularly memorable were former Sports Envoys Matt Bonner, Teresa Edwards and Rolando Blackman. These Envoys took time from their busy schedules to conduct high-energy clinics for participants from Tanzania, Mozambique and Lebanon. This year the leagues will assist with programs for youth from Afghanistan, Nepal, Mozambique, Russia, Egypt, Morocco and Australia.

For more information, please visit the SportsUnited website, Facebook page, or contact Laura Tischler, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, at 202-632-6454 and

PRN: 2010/668

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