BY GODWIN AIKIGBE
Giants of Africa on Tuesday announced it will conduct basketball camps in Nigeria from August 18 to 20.
Dedicated to supporting the growth of basketball on the continent, the body will also host skills camps in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ivory Coast and Senegal in the same month.
The youth focused camps will kick off in Rwanda from August 7 to 9, Uganda from August 10 to 12, Kenya from August 13 to 15, Ivory Coast from August 23 to 25 and conclude in Senegal with boys’ and girls’ camps from August 26 to 28.
“Sport can change the world” said Masai Ujiri. “Africa must rise and the way we get there is together. One of Giants of Africa’s fundamental mottos is – Dream Big. We believe that basketball can be used as a tool to educate and develop youth around the world to accomplish their dreams. In addition to training coaches in each country and building infrastructure, we strive to serve as role models for these kids to learn from and be motivated by hard work. We feel a deep sense of responsibility to help them develop as athletes and be good citizens within their community.”
Giants of Africa summer camps band together elite and emerging coaches from across Africa and internationally. The skills sessions are tailored to develop aspiring basketball athletes both on and off the court. Sessions over the course of three days will focus on helping players develop athleticism, enhance life skills, set goals and inspire them to accomplish their dreams.
While in each country, Giants of Africa will be participating in outreach projects in each local community. In Rwanda the team will be opening a new court at Rafiki Club. Kenya community outreach will include projects impacting the neighborhood of Kayole. The Giants of Africa team will be visiting Little Saints Orphanage in Nigeria, Cite d’Ivoire Orphelinat De Bingerville in Ivory Coast and will support the SEED project in Senegal.
In addition to running basketball camps and community outreach initiatives across the continent, the organization will also be screening its documentary of the same name, “Giants of Africa” in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria. The film which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival documents Toronto Raptors President, Masai Ujiri’s work to inspire and create opportunities for youth in Africa through basketball. The film, Giants of Africa tells the story of a movement that Ujiri envisioned 14 years ago. At the core of the film is the notion of using basketball as a tool to create lasting change and to empower others to dream big, while growing the game in Africa.
A native of Nigeria, Ujiri’s love of basketball paved his way to becoming the first African-born General Manager for a major North American sports team and he never forgot his roots, or the opportunities presented to him. Inspired by the NBA’s ‘Basketball Without Borders’ program, Giants of Africa exists to create those same opportunities for not only African youth, but also for coaches and mentors who go back to their own homeland to influence future generations. Since the Giants of Africa camps began more than 100 camp attendees have moved on to high school or university in the United States, with around 20 now playing professionally in Europe.
Giants of Africa 2017 camps will be made possible with the support of partners including the NBA, Nike, Nestlé Milo, Ecobank, MLSE Foundation and Sportscorp Travel.