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NBA stars in Israel to promote peace through basketball

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Players to take part in a special activity at the Peres Center for Peace

By Andrew Sherwood

(Reposted from: Jewish News Online.  August 15, 2017)

NBA players have landed in Israel where they will participate in special workshops aimed at encouraging peace education through basketball.

The delegation from the world’s top basketball league, was led by David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs), Omri Casspi (Golden State Warriors), and Anthony Parker (Orlando Magic).

They arrived on Tuesday for a special activity at the Peres Centre for Peace and Innovation, as part of “Basketball Without Borders Europe (BWB)”.

The project was held this year for the first time in Israel at the initiative of the NBA, FIBA (International Basketball Federation) and the Israel Basketball Association.

The players participated in several workshops with 150 young leaders – Jews, Christians, Muslims and Druze – on peace education through basketball. During the workshops, the professional players used language, music, sport, and other mediums as tools to build mutual understanding, and told the youths that, in order to succeed in the NBA, they must be able to play together and trust one another.

Other participants were Shay Doron (New York Liberty), Jerryd Bayless (Philadelphia 76ers), Sam Dekker (LA Clippers), Norman Powell (Toronto Raptors), and Karim Mashour (Maccabi Tel Aviv).

In a moving ceremony held during the activity, NBA Legend David Robinson said to the young leaders: “It is exciting for me to be in Israel and to see youths from all different faiths come together. Sport is a wonderful way to do it because you don’t have to look alike, you don’t have to be alike, you have to choose to work together.”

Robinson added “I learned in the NBA that in order to succeed you have to work together, play together and win together. Sport is a wonderful way to see a person for who they are, and it is a tool that can make the world better.”

Chemi Peres, Chairman of the Board of the Peres Centre, spoke at the ceremony and said: “On behalf of the young leaders here today, I thank you. You are an international model of true partnership and shared-living. My father believed that sports can bridge social and cultural gaps.”

The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation is Israel’s leading non-profit peacebuilding organization utilising peace education through sport. Programs are based on the belief that sports can serve as a meaningful tool to positively influence children and youth, as sport emphasises bringing people together, playing fair, and good sportsmanship.

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