Basketball

NBPA in South Africa: Sharing the Court with NBA Stars

  • Hoophead
  • Jason Murphy
  • August 26, 2015, 4:38 PM


nbpa south africa jason murphy

Basketball is more than a game.

That was the focus of the National Basketball Players Association Foundation’s weeklong journey through South Africa in July. Three student-athletes joined NBA stars like Chris Paul and the Gasol brothers for a community service trip to positively change the lives of kids on and off the court. In a three-part series for SIKIDS.com, the lucky student-athletes share their experiences as part of the trip. They detail how they used the game they love to connect with the children of South Africa, how touring the country inspired them, and why bringing the NBA to Africa is a game-changing move.

The final entry comes from 14-year-old Marriotsville, Maryland, native Jason Murphy, who plays center and spearheads an annual backpack drive for his local Boys and Girls Club. Jason looks back at the All-Star game that concluded this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

When the email arrived selecting me as a winner of the National Basketball Players Association’s contest inviting student-athletes to South Africa, I was very excited. I would be going to the first NBA basketball game on the continent of Africa. I was also going to meet All-Star Chris Paul — who is the Players Association president and one of my favorite players — along with numerous other players. That was enough to make the trip awesome. But there was so much more, that I didn’t even consider. Ultimately, the trip exceeded my expectations in every manner.

NBPA in South Africa: Giving Kids Opportunities to Play and Learn

  • Hoophead
  • Sophie L. Bernstein
  • August 25, 2015, 4:00 PM


nbpa south africa sophie bernstein

Basketball is more than a game.

That was the focus of the National Basketball Players Association Foundation’s weeklong journey through South Africa in July. Three student-athletes joined NBA stars like Chris Paul and the Gasol brothers for a community service trip to positively change the lives of kids on and off the court. In a three-part series for SIKIDS.com, the lucky student-athletes share their experiences as part of the trip. They detail how they used the game they love to connect with the children of South Africa, how touring the country inspired them, and why bringing the NBA to Africa is a game-changing move.

The second entry comes 15-year-old Sophie Bernstein of St. Louis, Missouri. The forward (and varsity swimmer) who contributes her time to VolunTEENnation, a resource tool that helps students can find service opportunities in their communities, recaps her participation in two court dedication ceremonies during the trip. Each event showed her just how big of an impact basketball can make across the world.

A hoop and a basketball can transcend borders and cultures. This summer, I had an experience that taught me that first hand. I had the incredible opportunity to travel across the globe to South Africa with NBA players and coaches to promote community service and basketball. The trip showed me the power of a basketball — it can be used to promote education, teamwork, and sportsmanship.  

NBPA in South Africa: Experience of a Lifetime

  • Hoophead
  • Zaniya Lewis
  • August 24, 2015, 5:01 PM


nbpa south africa zaniya lewis

Basketball is more than a game.

That was the focus of the National Basketball Players Association Foundation’s weeklong journey through South Africa in July. Three student-athletes joined NBA stars like Chris Paul and the Gasol brothers for a community service trip to positively change the lives of kids on and off the court. In a three-part series for SIKIDS.com, the lucky student-athletes share their experiences as part of the trip. They detail how they used the game they love to connect with the children of South Africa, how touring the country inspired them, and why bringing the NBA to Africa is a game-changing move.

The first entry comes Zaniya Lewis of Edgewater Park, New Jersey. The 17-year-old is a point guard and co-founder of The Kindness Project (a community service club that facilitates school-wide service activities). She gives us the rundown of all the exciting sights that she and her fellow student-athletes experienced.

nbpa south africa cradle of humankind

July 28 — Our first sightseeing trip was to the Cradle of Humankind. It’s a sprawling site in Johannesburg where one of the earliest human-like fossils was discovered.  We learned about the development of humans and our ancestors during our time there. We also went into the Sterkfontein Caves, in the Cradle of Humankind, which are made of limestone. We saw crystals in the caves as well. Exploring the caves was really long, but fun. We had to get low to the ground to reach different parts, but I had a blast.  

Christina M. Tapper

WNBA Star Elena Delle Donne Has the Chicago Sky Thinking Title

  • From the Mag
  • Christina M. Tapper
  • August 14, 2015, 12:30 PM


elena delle donne chicago sky wnba

After carrying her team to the finals last year, the WNBA star leads the league in scoring and free throw shooting.

She had missed 17 games due to complications from Lyme disease, was suffering from a stiff lower back, and was on the verge of an early postseason exit last season when her team was down by double-digit points in a decisive playoff game. Elena Delle Donne, however, was not giving up. Instead, the Chicago Sky star strapped her team to her ailing back and went to work.

Kate Gilliam

One-on-One with WNBA Star Tina Charles


tina charles wnba new york liberty

Tina Charles, the WNBA’s fourth-leading scorer, is feeling right at home in her second season with the New York Liberty. Charles, who grew up in Queens, New York, played for the Connecticut Sun from 2010–13 before requesting a trade in 2014.

She played for the University of Connecticut in college and was a national champion in 2009 and ’10. As a senior, she earned every major player of the year accolade, including the Naismith Trophy and the Wooden Award.

Recently, I had the chance to go to the MSG Training Center to watch the Liberty practice. The players did a lot of shooting drills and half-court scrimmaging. Following practice, Tina and I played two rounds of H-O-R-S-E.

Isabel Gomez

U.S. Boys Unified Basketball Team Captures Gold at 2015 World Games


special olympics world games 2015 us unified basketball gold

Over the past two weeks, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles has promoted the spirit of unity. That harmony was on full display last Friday when the U.S. Division 5 Boys Unified Basketball Team took home gold medals after going undefeated in all four of its games.

The team, which hails from New York, is a unified team. That means five athletes on the squad are Special Olympics athletes and five are “partner” athletes. When the team competes in the Games, there are three Special Olympics athletes playing with two “partner” athletes. The United States started their run for gold by beating Peru, 22-20. They also defeated Kenya, 20-7, and Pakistan 24-10. They played Luxembourg in the final, winning 26-12. 

Evan Bergen-Epstein

WNBA All-Star Sue Bird Passes A Milestone. Is It Her Last?


sue bird seattle storm wnba

As the Seattle Storm warmed up for their game against the Phoenix Mercury on July 10, one player was always in front of the rest of the team. One player was doing extra stretches and taking extra layups. One player was putting herself in a leadership role. That player was longtime Seattle point guard Sue Bird.

Bird’s 14-year WNBA career, all of which she has spent with the Storm, has been one of the best in the league’s history. She has led the Storm to two championships and has received eight All-Star selections. This past Sunday night she became the first WNBA player to score 5,000 points and reach 2,000 assists. 

At 34 years old, however, and after undergoing eight surgeries, all on the lower half of her body, Bird is no longer in her prime. The Storm also have a young, inexperienced roster, which has been evident this season. They have endured two five-game losing streaks on their way to a 3–12 start over their first 15 games. 

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