July 31, 2009 - NBA Development League (D-League) - Maine Red Claws
PORTLAND, ME - Maine Red Claws Head Coach Austin Ainge will participate in the Basketball Without Borders program on August 6-9 when he joins other coaches and players in Mexico City, Mexico. Basketball without Borders is the NBA and FIBA\'s global basketball development program that uses the sport to create positive social change in the areas of education, health and wellness.
The 2009 camps will be held in Beijing, China, Mexico City, Mexico and Johannesburg, South Africa and will feature NBA players and coaches training the top players ages 19 and under from each country. Ainge will join players Samuel Dalembert (Philadelphia 76ers), Willie Green (Philadelphia 76ers), Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks), and Eduardo Najera (NJ Nets) and coaches Kenny Atkinson (NY Knicks), Kelvin Sampson (Milwaukee Bucks) and Jack Sikma (Houston Rockets) in Mexico City.
This is the second Basketball Without Borders program for Ainge, who travelled to South Africa last year. Ainge, who spent two years in the Dominican Republic and is fluent in Spanish, is looking forward to the opportunity to coaching in Mexico.
"The program last year in South Africa was really rewarding and as much a learning experience for me as it was for the kids," Ainge said. "This year will be a little different in that being able to speak the language, I will be able to interact and communicate with the kids even more. Basketball Without Borders is about more than simply coaching basketball. It\'s about teaching skills the kids can use in everyday life. Being able to carry on a conversation in their own language will enable me teach them but at the same time will help me learn about them. That\'s what the program is about - making connections."
Campers will be divided into teams independent of race, religion or nationality to promote friendship and diversity. The players and coaches will partner with local community groups to lead daily life-skills sessions focusing on the importance of education, leadership, character development, health and wellness. Basketball Without Borders is part of the league\'s NBA Cares and NBA D-League Cares program, a social responsibility initiative through which players and coaches participate in extensive community outreach programs with local non-profit organizations.
"Austin\'s involvement with programs like Basketball Without Borders is indicative of the reasons we hired him to be the first head coach of the Maine Red Claws," said Red Claws President and General Manager Jon Jennings. "The Red Claws organization\'s philosophy is that if you are in a position to give back, you have an obligation to do so. Austin has consistently shown a dedication to making a difference and in particular, using the game of basketball to make an impact on the lives of kids. We are really proud of the work he has done and continues to do - Red Claws basketball fans have a lot to look forward to this season."
Red Claws will be able to read about Ainge\'s trip through a blog on the team\'s website, www.maineredclaws.com. Following his trip to Mexico, Ainge will return to Maine where he will coach the Red Claws basketball camps on August 17-21 at the Portland Exposition Building.