Former players and other representatives of the National Basketball Association (NBA) will visit Cuba from April 23 to 26, announced Mark Tatum, deputy commissioner of this organization.
With this trip, the NBA will become the first US professional sports organization to visit the island nation following the beginning in December 2014 of the process of reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The list of distinguished visitors includes Steve Nash (recently inducted to the Hall of Fame) and Dikembe Mutombo, as well as former WNBA player Ticha Penicheiro, and coaches Quin Snyder (Utah), and James Borrego (Orlando).
They will hold training clinics with the Cuban men’s and women’s national teams, and talented young players.
“We’ve seen the bridges basketball can build between cultures. We hope to share the values of our sport with young Cubans and learn from each other through the common language of sports,” said Tatum.
The visit has been organized as part of the NBA “Basketball without Borders” program. According to Tatum, the agreement was made with the help of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the directorate of the Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER by its Spanish acronym) and the Cuban Basketball Federation.
“This is a historic day for Cuban basketball and our federation,” said Ruperto Herrera, president of the Cuban Basketball Federation. “Having the NBA and FIBA collaborating in the training of young players and the development of this sport in our country is magnificent. We thank the Cuban government and INDER for opening the doors to these training camps that will ultimately benefit the future of national and international basketball.”
The President of FIBA, Argentinean Horacio Muratore, wrote in his twitter account: “It is very rewarding to see Cuba host developmental camps of this level. Cuba is a country that loves basketball and we are proud to be working with the NBA in this historic endeavor.”
As part of its “NBA Cares” program, this organization will be renovating three basketball courts in Havana, and it will hold clinics at two locations in this city, that are yet to be defined.
The above mentioned stars will be joined at the training sessions by Washington Wizards Vice President Tommy Sheppard, New York Knicks Associated Coach Anthony Goenaga, and FIBA referee Geraldo Fontana.