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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

(JNS.org) The National Basketball Association (NBA) is preparing to bring an international program to Israel this summer in what will mark the league’s first official visit to the Jewish state.

The NBA’s Basketball Without Borders (BWB) program, which since 2001 has utilized sports to promote cultural understanding and an active lifestyle in cities around the world, will visit Israel in collaboration with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).

“We’re looking forward to the chance to bring all communities together for this program,” said Kathy Behrens, the NBA’s president of social responsibility and player programs. “This is going to be about bringing the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Druze and other communities together.”

BWB’s first camp was hosted in Italy, and the initiative later brought together athletes during tense political times in the former republic of Yugoslavia.

This August, leading teen athletes from more than 30 countries—including Spain, Germany, France and Israel—will be coached and tutored by former NBA all-stars, including center David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs, at BWB’s summer camp in Netanya. The teens will also perform community outreach in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

“It’s great to see the NBA and FIBA recognize Israel’s basketball development efforts by hosting the camp there for the first time,” said Omri Casspi, the first Israeli-born player in NBA history. “I look forward to working with Europe’s top male and female players and showing them the beauty and culture of my home country.”