Giants visit three countries after COVID, Hoops returns “to change the narrative” and Rose motivates Senegal’s Lions – latest basketball roundup.

Senegal basketball team during a match. Photo Credits : FIBA

Giants of Africa has restarted camps after a COVID-induced layoff; Amadou Fall’s Seeds of Africa Hoop Forum is back, too, while Derrick Rose provided motivation for the Senegal men’s team during a visit to the country.

by Silalei Shani, bird story agency

The Giants of Africa, an organization that uses basketball as a means to enrich the lives of African youth through education on and off the court, have just wrapped up their annual camp tour, after visiting 3 countries this year.

Following a 3-year hiatus due to Covid 19 restrictions and precautions, GOA held camps in Burkina Faso, Benin and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was the first time GOA had held camps in Burkina Faso and Benin. The organization, co-founded by Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri, has hosted basketball camps and educational clinics for boys and girls in over 17 countries since 2003.

The camp in DRC saw NBA Hall of Fame alumni and humanitarian Dikembe Mutombo join Ujiri for the unveiling of a newly-built basketball court at the Samuel Mutombo Institute.

“When we built the Samuel Mutombo Institute in memory of my father, an esteemed and passionate educator, we wanted to provide access to modern education for hundreds of boys and girls in the community,” Mutombo said at the opening.

“Beyond the classroom, I knew that I also wanted to give the youth an opportunity to learn and grow on the basketball court given how much the game has impacted my life and so many others. Thank you, Giants of Africa, for not only supporting our youth but our entire community.”

The court is part of a 100-court commitment by GOA to improve the sports infrastructure across the continent. IAMGold supported the Burkina Faso camp while the Jess and Scott Lake Foundation sponsored the court in DRC, making it the fifteenth GOA-built court in the campaign.

Another high-profile event to return to Africa’s basketball calendar this year after the pandemic was the annual Hoops Forum, organized by the Seed Academy, a structure founded by Amadou Fall, president of the Basketball Africa League.

The Seed Project empowers the next generation of African leaders through education and basketball with 95% of their graduates having gone to college or secured a job. The 4-day annual Hoop Forum unites Seed Project alumni with its followers and newcomers from all over the world, discussing basketball, youth, business, economic empowerment, development, the arts and culture. Mamadou Thia Diop, a Seed graduate and currently responsible for Premise and Facilities at the BAL, shared his view on the event on social media.

“We are very proud to come back home and participate in this event… we are changing the narrative of Africa and showing that we can do great things on the continent.

The Senegal-based event also encourages participants to enjoy the balance of elite training camps, community give-back events and networking opportunities and regularly attracts African basketball legends and NBA stars.

One of the stars joining the list of American basketball stars visiting Africa this summer was Derrick Rose. The New York Nicks player coached a session at the NBA Academy Africa as well as encouraging the Senegalese men’s national team, “ Les Lions” as they prepared for the FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifying tournament.

He encouraged all players to master their craft while reminding them that to be great, they needed to “make great sacrifices”. The next World Cup qualifiers will take place from August 26-29 th in Abidjan and Monastir in Tunisia.

bird story agency