Chris Paul dribbling with Basketball Without Borders campers. Chris Paul dribbling with Basketball Without Borders campers. Basketball Without Borders draws NBA stars like Chris Paul to its programs to work with top youth players around the world. (Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

NBA plans to dip its toes in the Mediterranean this summer

The league is holding a premier basketball camp in the region.

The National Basketball Association season may be over in June, but that doesn't mean the league goes silent for the off-season. In fact, it operates year round with camps and outreach programs throughout the world.

One such program is Basketball Without Borders, run in conjunction with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The two basketball bodies announced this week they have partnered with the Israel Basketball Association to hold the 16th edition of Basketball without Borders (BWB) Europe in the coastal Mediterranean city of Netanya, Israel, this August.

Players at Basketball Without Borders take a selfie.Basketball Without Borders draws top youth players from around the world to compete, meet and have some fun. (Photo: NBA/Basketball Without Borders)

This year's BWB Europe brings together the top male and female players born in 2000 from across Europe to learn directly from NBA and FIBA players, legends and coaches and to compete against the best young players from the continent.

For its part, Israel is no stranger to the NBA. Its premier league is among the most competitive in the world and has lured NBA talent to the country for decades. In recent years former NBA stars like Nate Robinson and Amar'e Stoudemire have played for teams there.

And only last year did Maccabi Tel Aviv – a powerhouse that won the European Championship in 2014 – star Dragan Bender get drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the lottery round.

The country has also produced NBA talent. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Omri Casspi just wrapped up his eighth season in the league. Casspi, a former Basketball Without Borders participant, said he was excited to see the program make it to his home country.

Omri Casspi has enjoyed success in the NBA since entering the league in 2009.Israeli-born Omri Casspi played 7 1/2 seasons with the NBA's Sacramento Kings before moving to the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this year. (Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

“Basketball without Borders is an amazing program, and I’m fortunate that I was able to participate as a camper in 2005. It’s great to see the NBA and FIBA recognize Israel’s basketball development efforts by hosting the camp there for the first time. I look forward to working with Europe’s top male and female players and showing them the beauty and culture of my home country,” Casspi said.

The first-ever Basketball Without Borders camp took place in Europe in July 2001. Since then, 49 BWB camps have been staged in 25 countries on six continents, with 43 campers drafted into the NBA.


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NBA plans to dip its toes in the Mediterranean this summer
The NBA's Basketball Without Borders is headed to Netanya, Israel in August.