Raptors Lowry, Ibaka Raise Basketball Awareness In Africa

“The game has taken my so many places.” Kyle Lowry said on the phone from Johannesburg, South Africa. “The game of basketball has been amazing to me and my family and I understand how fortunate I am and that is why I give back to the game.”

Lowry as his teammate Serge Ibaka and dozens of other NBA players are in Africa over the next week for the Basketball Without Borders program and to participate in the NBA Africa Game on August 5th.

The players and coaches will lead the campers through a variety of activities on and off the court. Early Thursday morning Lowry was teamed up with Habitat for Humanity.

“It was an unbelievable day.” Lowry said, “We spent the day building houses for those in need here [Africa]. I think we built around 10 homes and we are just out here giving back as much as we can.”

Serge Ibaka is a native of the Republic of Congo and has made trips back to Africa every year since he was drafted to the Seattle SuperSonics in 2008.

“I’ve been doing this kind of work for the last 8 years since I have been in the NBA,” Ibaka said over the phone. “Anytime I have an opportunity to come back home and do this kind of work it’s a privilege and it’s me job. There are a lot of kids watching me and it’s important for them to see the hard work that is put in and that you should never forget where you are from.”

This isn’t the first time that Lowry has been to Africa, he went there with Adidas a few  years ago. This time though he was able to bring his family and they went on a safari. “It’s been awesome. It was an experience I got to do with my family. I got to see a lion, an elephant, giraffe, leopard, impala, wild dog all up close and personal.” Lowry said with excitement,  “It’s something you don’t get to experience everyday and I had my kids and my family with me and those things right there just make you feel good. Just being able to do that and being fortunate enough to be able to take your family and kids to see those kinds of things.”

The NBA and FIBA have staged 50 BWB camps in 31 cities across 26 countries on six continents.  More than 230 current and former NBA, WNBA and FIBA players have joined more than 185 NBA team personnel from all 30 NBA teams to support BWB across the world.