The NBA is extending its global reach even farther. Taking advantage of the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, the league and FIBA announced today that they will host a joint development camp in Havana from April 23-26.
Two-time MVP Steve Nash, Hall-of-Fame inductee Dikembe Mutombo, and WNBA legend Ticha Penicheiro will lead the four-day event with help from members of the Cuban Men’s and Women’s National Teams and the Cuban Basketball Federation (CBF). As part of the initiative, the NBA and FIBA will invite two players and one coach from the camp to participate in next year’s Basketball Without Borders.
Officials from the CBF, NBA, and FIBA all expressed widespread excitement about not just the camp in Havana, but the promise of a relationship for years to come. Per the NBA’s release:
“This is a great day for Cuban basketball and our federation,” said CBF President Ruperto Herrera. “To have both the NBA and FIBA collaborate on youth instruction and the development of the game in our country is magnificent. We thank the Republic of Cuba and INDER for opening the doors for these basketball camps that will end up benefiting the future of national and international basketball.”
“We’ve seen the bridges that basketball can build between cultures,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum. “We look forward to sharing the values of our game with Cuban youth and learning together through the common language of sports.”
“In the continued effort to strengthen our national federations, it is extremely gratifying to see Cuba serve as the center of a development camp of this magnitude,” said FIBA President Horacio Muratore. “This is a country that loves basketball and we are proud to work together with the NBA on this historic venture.”
NBA Cares will also refurbish three local courts and host youth basketball clinics at two separate Havana locations, while Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz and James Borrego of the Orlando Magic headline a group of coaches assisting in training camp efforts for senior and junior levels of the Cuban National Team.
This development is just the latest feather in the cap of NBA commissioner Adam Silver. The popularity of basketball is ever expanding, and the league’s continued efforts to ensure that growth takes place in countries abroad will only further improve the game.
Might we see a Cuban NBA star in coming years? In conjunction with the CBF and FIBA, Silver and company have allowed for that exciting possibility at the very least.