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Habitat for Humanity and NBA Cares: A global partnership

NBA players and coaches partnered with Habitat for Humanity South Africa, as well as Habitat’s Africa and the Middle East regional office for a build day sponsored by the Pagliuca family on Sept. 7. This event highlighted the participation of the players, coaches, partners and guests in building affordable housing in partnership with two families in the township of Katlehong. The build in Katlehong marked the first NBA/Habitat build outside of the United States. “It feels great to be able to come out here and help in the building of these two houses as opposed to just donating money. With this build, you feel you have given a part of you,” said Josh Childress, Atlanta Hawks guard-forward.

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Nonceba (center), pictured with volunteers, was one of the beneficiaries of the build.

 

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The players gathered with other volunteers outside Nonceba’s house.

Led by NBA great and Congo-born Dikembe Mutombo of the Houston Rockets and young NBA star Emeka Okafor of the Charlotte Bobcats, Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa continues to strengthen and enrich the NBA’s existing partnerships with Habitat for Humanity International, Cotlands and SKY Trust through its social responsibility efforts. “NBA players have a great passion for the game and for giving back to the community,” said Kathy Behrens, senior vice president of Community and Player Programs. “Basketball Without Borders combines the best of the NBA — community outreach and basketball development — and it allows our players to celebrate the game and make a lasting difference for those in need.”

Habitat for Humanity’s work in South Africa has built over 30 houses in Katlehong since 2005, providing simple, decent, affordable housing to more than 170 people who were previously living in shacks. This has been possible through a partnership with Kavosh, a local association of residents. More than 270 families living in shacks are on Kavosh’s waiting list for a house. This number is set to rise when an increasing number of residents living in shacks see the transformation effected by owning a durable Habitat house. Co-founder of Kavosh, Nonceba Mnqumeni, was one of the two families whose houses were being built by the NBA players. “I couldn’t believe it when I was told that my house was going to be built by the big NBA stars. When they arrived, I knew I was not dreaming,” said Nonceba.

The trip to South Africa was the fifth consecutive trip for Mutombo, who earlier this year received special recognition during the United States President’s State of the Union address for his charitable work. The NBA great and Okafor, whose parents are both natives of Nigeria, were joined by the San Antonio Spurs forward Bruce Bowen, Charlotte Bobcats center Primoz Brezec, Atlanta Hawks guard-forward Josh Childress, Orlando Magic forward Pat Garrity, Phoenix Suns center Sean Marks, Sacramento Kings guard Kevin Martin, New Jersey Nets forward Bostjan Nachbar, New York Knicks forward Malik Rose, and former NBA players Steve Smith and Jim Jackson. Jackson was making his third visit to South Africa. Hall of Famer Bob Lanier also attended the camp and helped to lead the NBA Cares efforts.