The National Basketball Association (NBA), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Latvian Basketball Association (Latvijas Basketbola Savieniba) on Wednesday announced that the 18th edition of Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Europe will be held from June 9-June 12 at Elektrum Olympic Center in Riga, Latvia, marking the first time that the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program will be held in Latvia.
BWB Europe 2019 will bring together the top male and female players ages 17 and under from throughout Europe to learn directly from current and former NBA and FIBA players, coaches and legends and to compete against the best young players from the region.
The first-ever Basketball Without Borders camp took place in Europe in July 2001. Vlade Divac (Serbia) and Toni Kukoc (Croatia), together with former teammates from the Yugoslav national team, reunited to work with 50 children from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia and Montenegro at La Ghirada in Treviso, Italy.
NIKE, a global partner of BWB since 2002, will outfit the campers and coaches with apparel and footwear.
Among the record 27 former BWB campers on opening-night NBA rosters for the 2018-19 season (active and inactive), 17 are from Europe, including Danilo Gallinari (LA Clippers; Italy; BWB Europe 2003), Marc Gasol (Toronto Raptors; Spain; BWB Europe 2003) and Lauri Markkanen (Chicago Bulls; Finland; BWB Europe 2014; BWB Global 2015).
Follow BWB using the hashtag #BWBEurope on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. BWB Europe campers and coaches will be announced prior to the camp. Additional 2019 BWB camps will be announced at a later date.
NBA Senior Vice President, International Basketball Operations Kim Bohuny:“We are excited to bring Basketball Without Borders to Latvia for the first time and recognize the strong work that the Latvian Basketball Association has done to develop elite level players and grow the game. This summer’s camp will provide top European male and female prospects with the opportunity to learn directly from current and former players and coaches in a country with a rich history and bright future in the sport.”
FIBA National Federations & Sport Director Zoran Radovic: “Latvia is a country with a very rich basketball tradition. They won the first-ever FIBA European Championship back in 1935 and, for the last 84 years, have been producing star-caliber players. It’s a great honor to bring the Basketball Without Borders program to a territory that has such a long-standing relationship with our sport. We look forward to testing the top boys and girls from Latvia and across Europe, with the help of the NBA and the Latvian Basketball Association.”
Latvian Basketball Association Secretary General Edgars Sneps: “Though Latvia ranks among the world’s smallest countries, it has yielded six NBA players altogether, with four currently playing in the world’s strongest basketball league. Combined with the medals won by Latvian youth teams at FIBA European Championships and the national team’s track record, Latvian basketball players have made an indelible mark on global basketball. Furthermore, the above-mentioned accomplishments of our players are promoting an increasing popularity of the Jr. NBA Latvia League among young players. Taking advantage of this momentum, we are determined to use every opportunity to strengthen our position in becoming one of the world’s leading basketball countries. Thus, it is with great pleasure and honor that we been selected to host the prestigious Basketball Without Borders Europe camp. With accumulated expertise in organizing international events, we will ensure the participants have a wonderful time in Latvia, gaining both practical skills and enjoying an unforgettable experience. Moreover, we are confident that the visit from these renowned guests and young stars will strongly contribute to the further evolution of basketball in Latvia.”