In today’s world of professional sports a special bond has been made between the fans and most players. Through sites such as Twitter and countless behind the scenes documentaries and specials about our favourite sports athletes, today’s sports fan is more connected to their favourite athletes than they ever have been. All-Star games are a way for pro leagues to put on a show for their fans and celebrate their game, featuring the best players from around the league on one surface. For the NBA, All-Star Weekend is a chance to showcase the Association’s best talent, while showing the fans a good time through various interactive activities and contests.
This year the NBA will be teaming up with the Special Olympics for the first ever NBA Cares Special Olympics Unity Sports Basketball Game during this year’s All-Star Weekend. The game will take place at the NBA All-Star Jam Session on Sunday, February 26, and will feature NBA players past and present, players from the WNBA, and most importantly 12 Special Olympic athletes from across the United States.
NBA legends such as Clyde Drexler, Chris Mullin, Dikembe Mutombo and Sam Perkins will all be taking part in the event, as well as current stars Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker and Derrick Williams. The opportunity for many of these Special Olympics athletes who are getting the opportunity to play with professional basketball players is a big step in directing people’s attention to the incredible talents of those involved with Special Olympics and their importance to the sporting world.
Participants will not only be playing in this charity basketball game but will also be treated, as well as their families, to a dinner with an NBA legend, in arena recognition during NBA All-Star events Saturday night, and tickets to the All-Star Game Sunday night. The NBA and the Special Olympics formed their partnership nearly 30 years ago when basketball was introduced as a new sport within the organization. Since then, the NBA has sponsored various Special Olympic basketball tournaments, provided NBA player public service announcements, participated in major Special Olympic events and has had the NBA Basketball Without Borders program featured in international clinics for Special Olympic athletes around the world.
Since its inception, NBA Cares has been devoted to its social responsibility of addressing important social issues around the world. NBA teams and players have donated over $175 million to charity, completed over 1.8 million hours of community service, and has created more than 675 places in 22 countries where families can live, learn and play.
The Special Olympics is globally known and admired for its efforts in changing lives through the power of sport, while encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities and promoting acceptance for all. Close to 3.7 million athletes in over 170 countries all over the world take part in the Special Olympicsprogram through sports training, athletic competition or various other programs supported by Special Olympics.
To learn more about NBA Cares or the Unity Sports Basketball Game, visit www.nba.com/caravan/
To learn more about the Special Olympics, visit www.specialolympics.org