- Title: FRANCE: BASKETBALL - NBA players in Paris to coach young basketball hopefuls
- Date: 8th August 2007
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) AEGIR THOR STEINARSSON, YOUTH PLAYER FROM ICELAND, SAYING: "It's just a great opportunity for me to compare myself to the other European players, and to get to know the NBA players; it's a great opportunity."
- Embargoed: 23rd August 2007 13:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVAEKVOF9VB5C86IVQ9TKJDVC91Y
- Story Text: Seven major league NBA basketball players were among the coaches that joined fifty of the game's rising stars in Paris as the seventh European Basketball Without Borders event kicked off on Tuesday (August 7).
Frenchman Ronny Turiaf of the Los Angeles Lakers was joined by fellow countrymen Phoenix Suns' Boris Diaw, Denver Nuggets' Yakhouba Diawara and Mickael Pietrus of the Golden State Warriors, whilst players from further afield included Bo Outlaw of Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls guard Chris Duhon.
The fifty young participants, all aged sixteen to eighteen, have been selected by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) from twenty six countries across Europe, and will spend a week living and training together, taking daily sessions with NBA players and coaches.
Ronny Turiaf said the camp provided an opportunity to show young people that they are valued in the game.
"It's much better for the children that they know that people are concerned with their evolution, so I think that it's good for the community, and I like being able to come here and talk to them, to communicate, to exchange ideas," he said.
Bo Outlaw said the sport could bring people together.
"I mean I know that teamwork is very important, and in this environment you have to work with a lot of different guys from different countries, so that's very important for sportsmen. All the things that relate to basketball are going to come together here, because some guys you don't know, some guys you've never seen, some guys don't speak the same language, but it's a universal sport, you know, in basketball we all speak the same language, and that's very important," he said.
For the participants, it is the opportunity of a lifetime to benefit from the advice of their heroes.
"It's just a great opportunity for me to compare myself to the other European players, and to get to know the NBA players; it's a great opportunity," said one player, Aegir Thor Steinarsson, from Iceland.
Basketball Without Borders is a global event, with annual sessions running in four different continents. Since the first camp in 2001 nearly 1000 young athletes have taken part, five of whom are now living their dreams by playing in NBA teams alongside the stars that taught them. This year's participants have the same goal in mind.
"I hope to be a basketball player... after seeing the NBA players.
The NBA is often a dream for all young people, and especially all the guys who are here," said Eros Chinellato, from Italy.
Alongside the sport the camp also provides educational and community events, with players visiting local hospitals and holding sessions on leadership, health education and motivation.
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