If you are a regular reader of this blog, by now you know that NBA All-Star Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks is a huge UNICEF supporter. We’ve worked closely with Tyson and the NBA this year on a number of initiatives that support UNICEF’s mission of creating a world where ZERO children are [...]
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Imagine getting $100 per rebound! Well, that’s just what happened to Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers—with all of it going to UNICEF.
Last December, U.S. Fund for UNICEF New York Philanthropic Advisory Board member—and NBA insider—David Kleinhandler tossed out a challenge to Pau. David pledged to donate $100 to UNICEF for every rebound Pau pulled down, from that day until the end of the season. Pau’s eyes lit up when he thought of the many children he could help on the court, to go with his advocacy and fundraising support off the court. And on April 17, at the Lakers’ final game of the season, everything came together on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable children.
From the photos that accompany this blog post, you’ll see that I’ve been traveling with a group of really tall men. Last week, NBA greats Dikembe Mutombo, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Nick Collison were on the road with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF on a field visit to UNICEF projects in northern Kenya. They visited refugee camps at Kakuma, medical facilities in Makutano, and children’s shelters in Lodwar.
But what I’ve learned about these men is that it isn’t their extraordinary height that makes them remarkable, or the fact that each can palm an infant as easily as they can palm a basketball—it’s their super-sized hearts.
It’s amazing how well young people can communicate without relying on language. Children can overcome a language barrier with a warm smile, a cool handshake or a slick dance move. At least that was the case with the kids we meet on a recent field visit we took to Tanzania with NBA and Olympic basketball star Tyson Chandler.
The very tall (7’1”) center for the New York Knicks was fresh off his gold-medal winning performance with the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball team in London. But instead of heading back to the U.S. for the many celebrations and parties set to get underway for the triumphant team, Tyson opted to travel to Africa and personally experience the work UNICEF is doing to fight for the survival and development of every child in need.
In this second week of the Olymic Games, we wanted to let you know about a global sports program for children that has been taking place in conjunction with the Olympics. It’s called International Inspiration and is the result of a pledge that Seb Coe, who led London’s bid for the Olympics, made when London was chosen to host the 2012 Games: to connect children to the transformative power that the Games have and inspire them to play sports and improve their lives as a result. The program’s mission is simple: Bring sports to 12 million children in 20 countries. And that’s not the only way that UNICEF is connected to the Olympics. The NBA, a long-time supporter of UNICEF’s work, is well represented at this year’s Games.
Congolese National Basketball Association star and Oklahoma City Thunder Forward Serge Ibaka recently visited his home country, Republic of Congo, to work with the young street children in Brazzaville. Serge may already have eighteen siblings, but he is willing to extend his family even more. “I am your big brother now. I will be coming here every year to see how we can improve the situation”.