Masai Ujiri

Giants of Africa, the organisation founded by Toronto Raptors President, Masai Ujiri, will begin its annual camp on Saturday. The venue this time is the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.

GOA officials confirmed that the kids for the training are already in Lagos for the Saturday tip off. The event is being held in six countries this year.

Dedicated to supporting the growth of basketball in Africa, Giants of Africa is hosting skills camps in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal.

The youth focused camps kicked off in Rwanda from August 7 to 9, Uganda from August 10 to 12, Kenya from August 13 to 15, and then Nigeria holding from August 19 to 21. It will hold in Ivory Coast from August 23 to 25 and conclude in Senegal with boys’ and girls’ camps from August 26 to 28.

“Sport can change the world,” said Ujiri, a former Nigeria international. “Africa must rise and the way we get there is together. One of Giants of Africa’s fundamental mottos is – Dream Big. We believe that basketball can be used as a tool to educate and develop youth around the world to accomplish their dreams.

“In addition to training coaches in each country and building infrastructure, we strive to serve as role models for these kids to learn from and be motivated by hard work. We feel a deep sense of responsibility to help them develop as athletes and be good citizens within their community.”

Giants of Africa summer camps ‎bring together elite and emerging coaches from across Africa and internationally. The skills sessions are tailored to develop aspiring basketball athletes both on and off the court. Sessions over the course of three days will focus on helping players develop athleticism, enhance life skills, set goals and inspire them to accomplish their dreams.

In each country, Giants of Africa is participating in outreach projects in each local community. In Rwanda the team opened a new court at Rafiki Club. Kenya community outreach included a project impacting the neighbourhood of Kayole. The Giants of Africa team will be visiting Little Saints Orphanage in Nigeria, Cite d’Ivoire Orphelinat De Bingerville in Ivory Coast and will support the SEED project in Senegal.

An indigene of Nigeria, Ujiri’s love of basketball paved his way to becoming the first African-born General Manager for a major North American sports team and he never forgot his roots, or the opportunities presented to him.

Inspired by the NBA’s ‘Basketball Without Borders’ programme, Giants of Africa exists to create those same opportunities for not only African youth, but also for coaches and mentors who go back to their own homeland to influence future generations. Since the Giants of Africa camps began more than 100 camp attendees have moved on to high school or university in the United States, with around 20 now playing professionally in Europe.

Giants of Africa 2017 camps have been made possible with the support of partners including the NBA, Nike, Nestlé Milo, Ecobank, MLSE Foundation and Sportscorp Travel.