Dikembe Mutombo, who was appointed the NBA’s Global Ambassador in 2009, is hosting a four-day Basketball Without Borders camp in Japan in the middle of June for the top 50 young basketball players from 18 Asian countries, according to NBA.com:
“We bring our knowledge of the game and pass it on to young people,” Mutombo said. “I am proud to say that there are now about 200 or 250 young men who took part in Basketball Without Borders who are now playing in American high schools and colleges.”
In addition to Mutombo, who was a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Samuel Dalembert of the Houston Rockets, Vladimir Ramanovic of the Atlanta Hawks, and Corey Brewer of the Denver Nuggets are also in attendance at the camp. Former NBA player Yuta Tabuse, who is from Japan, is also present at the clinic.
Mutombo, a native of the Congo, was only the third African to play in the NBA when the Denver Nuggets selected him fourth overall in the 1991 NBA Draft, following in the footsteps of fellow African’s Manute Bol and Hakeem Olajuwon. Serge Ibaka, who is currently in the NBA Finals with the Oklahoma City Thunder, is also from the Republic of Congo.
After I made it to the NBA, I said that I didn’t want to be the last player from Africa,” Mutombo said. “After my rookie year, I went to the league and talked about this and they embraced my idea and started conducting basketball clinics in Africa and that’s when I knew I wouldn’t be the last African.”