STEVE NASH, YAO MING, ANDRE DRUMMOND, KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS, DEVIN BOOKER NAMED HONORARY COACHES FOR FIFTH ANNUAL NBA CARES SPECIAL OLYMPICS UNIFIED® BASKETBALL GAME AT NBA ALL-STAR 2016
– Stephen Curry and Dell Curry to Tip Off Game at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 13 –
NEW YORK, Feb. 9, 2016 – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Special Olympics today announced that two-time Kia NBA MVP Steve Nash, NBA Legend Yao Ming, NBA All-Star Andre Drummond and 2016 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge participant Karl-Anthony Towns have been named Honorary Coaches for the fifth annual NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified® Basketball Game at NBA All-Star 2016. They will join ESPN’s Sage Steele, 2016 Foot Locker Three-Point Contest participant Devin Booker, Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton and NBA Cares Ambassador Isaiah Austin to lead the East and West squads. 2015 NBA Champion Stephen Curry and his father, NBA Legend Dell Curry, will tip off the game at Toronto’s Enercare Centre at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 13.
This year’s 40-minute demonstration game will feature 12 Special Olympics athletes from around the world playing alongside NBA legends and WNBA legends/players, including Bruce Bowen, Jason Collins, Tamika Catchings and Ticha Penicheiro for the West, and Detlef Schrempf, Tracy McGrady, Special Olympics Global Ambassador Elena Delle Donne and WNBA Cares Ambassador and 2003 WNBA Finals MVP Ruth Riley for the East. The majority of Special Olympics athletes competing in the game also competed at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
First held at NBA All-Star 2012, the NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified® Basketball Game will bring together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities as teammates to showcase the power of Special Olympics, which helps to unify communities and foster an environment of acceptance and inclusion. Following the game, NBA Legend A.C. Green, Jeremy Lamb, Rodney Hood and Lindsay Whalen will host 75 youth athletes from local Special Olympics Programs for a basketball clinic on the NBA FIT Court presented by Kumho Tire at Enercare Centre.
“The NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified® Basketball Game has become a highlight of our NBA Cares All-Star efforts,” said NBA Senior Vice President, Social Responsibility Todd Jacobson. “We value the passion Special Olympics shares for basketball and inclusion and are looking forward to bringing together some of the best athletes from across the globe for this terrific game.”
Bruce Bowen, NBA Legend
Jason Collins, NBA Cares Ambassador
Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever
Ticha Penicheiro, WNBA Legend
Eliza Mills, Australia
Franck Cedric Koffi, Cote d’Ivoire
Milton Vieira, Italy
Natalie Branscombe, Canada (Nova Scotia)
Sarah Byrne, Ireland
Gohulan Rajalingam, Canada (Toronto)
Detlef Schrempf, NBA Legend
Tracy McGrady, 7-time NBA All-Star
Elena Delle Donne, Chicago Sky
Ruth Riley, WNBA Cares Ambassador & 2003 WNBA Finals MVP
Duquan Walker, U.S. (Mississippi)
James Black, U.S. (Washington, D.C.)
Jose Rondon Zapata, Venezuela
Maria-Lamprini Dragkola, Greece
Matt Grimes, U.S. (Massachusetts)
Temitope Amodu, Nigeria
These 12 Special Olympics athletes will also enjoy a memorable NBA All-Star experience, including a meet-and-greet with members of the NBA family and tickets to marquee events throughout the week.
“Giving our athletes the chance to compete alongside NBA and WNBA players on a world stage as part of NBA All-Star helps us continue to break down the barriers that exist for our population – a population that is marginalized and oftentimes ignored all over the world,” said Mary Davis, Acting CEO, Special Olympics. “We are incredibly thankful to our longstanding partners at the NBA and their continued support of this fifth annual NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified® Basketball Game.”
The NBA’s global partnership with Special Olympics began more than 30 years ago when the league helped introduce basketball as a new sport to the organization. The NBA has since provided sponsorship to Special Olympics basketball tournaments, created public service announcements featuring NBA players and participated in major Special Olympics events. Through NBA Cares, the NBA family has hosted international clinics for Special Olympics athletes in China, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Russia, France, Greece, Italy, Brazil, Spain, England, Mexico and, with this event, Canada.