Team East Wins Third-Annual NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Sports® Basketball Game at NBA All-Star 2014

February 20, 2014

On Sunday afternoon, Special Olympics athletes from across the world showed a cheering crowd at NBA All-Star Jam Session the unifying power of sport.

300x200-Chen-Xiao-Shan

Chen Xiao Shan of China from Team East goes for a loose ball.

A Come-from-behind Victory

New Orleans, Louisiana - Eleven Special Olympics athletes teamed up with NBA and WNBA players and legends in a Unified Sports game (where athletes with and without intellectual disability play on the same team).  Team West got out to an early lead, but Team East slowly chipped away at the gap, to take the lead in the second half and emerge victorious, with a final score of 63-53. For the first-time ever, the Special Olympics Unified Sports®  Basketball Game was carried live on ESPN3, reaching the United States and additional viewers in Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand.  A replay of the game is now available on ESPN3 at http://es.pn/UnifiedGame.

Led by Travis Jackson of Special Olympics Florida, Raymond Macaspac of Special Olympics Philippines, Sephonne Mack of Special Olympics Pennsylvania, Chen Xiao Shan of Special Olympics China and Kadijatou Genevieve Kone of Special Olympics Senegal - Team East (blue jerseys) gave Team West a run for their money the entire game, showing great skill and teamwork on the court alongside their teammates, Dikembe Mutombo, NBA legend and Special Olympics Board of Director and Special Olympics Global Ambassador and NBA legend Ron Harper and WNBA players Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) and Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky and Special Olympics Global Ambassador).  East Team coaches Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia 76ers) and Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic) were impressed with their team's performance.

"We picked up our defensive intensity in the second half and everyone scored," said Carter-Williams.  "We worked hard and had a great time today - everyone played with so much passion and it showed in our results - we were down by 15 and came back strong and took the game.  As rookie coaches, I think Vic and I kept our players excited and focused and we got to win!" Carter-Williams is also the Philadelphia 76ers team spokesperson for their partnership with Special Olympics Pennsylvania.

The NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Sports® basketball game took place at Sprint Arena at NBA All-Star Jam Session on Sunday afternoon, prior to the 63rd NBA All-Star Game.  Before the game got underway, seventy-five New Orleans area Special Olympics athletes participated in a skills clinic with NBA All-Star and Special Olympics Global Ambassador Damian Lillard (Portland Trailblazers), and NBA legends Darryl Dawkins, Horace Grant and Felipe Lopez. The Unified Game kicked off with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver greeting all of the Special Olympics athletes and the father-son duo of Dell and Stephen Curry conducting the ceremonial ball tip. 


300x200 Riley and Special Olympics Colorado athlete Mackenzie Beauvais-Nikl

WNBA star Ruth Riley chats with Special Olympics Colorado athlete Mackenzie Beauvais-Nikl.

"They certainly brought their A-game"

Team West (red jerseys) was coached by Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York Knicks) and Trey Burke (Utah Jazz) and included Special Olympics athletes Mackenzie Beauvais-Nikl of Colorado, Paul Hoffman of California, Sam Schwab of Wyoming, Jacob Majors of Louisiana and international athletes Valerie Lynch of Ireland and Edwin González of Puerto Rico, as well as Unified teammates NBA legends Detlef Schrempf and A.C. Green and WNBA players Lindsey Harding (Los Angeles Sparks) and Ruth Riley (Atlanta Dream).  

"These Special Olympics athletes come from all over the world and were chosen because they are the best in their sport.  They certainly brought their A-game," said Trey Burke. "Each and every one of these players pushed the tempo on the court and we are all walking away as winners and showing the true power of unified sports."

Sunday's game was a Unified Sports® experience that gave participants and the public a chance to witness the inclusion that occurs when athletes with and without intellectual disabilities get to play together as teammates. Half a million people worldwide take part in Special Olympics Unified Sports competitions, helping to break down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities.

Sharon Byers, SVP Sports, Entertainment & Community Marketing for Special Olympics Founding Partner Coca-Cola North America, spoke courtside with Sage Steele of ESPN about the history of Unified Sports and this event, "We have grown from a one-on-one backyard relationship to having ESPN and the NBA involved with their support. Together, we are going to continue to make it grow." 

The NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Sports game at NBA All-Star is yet another great part of a long-term global partnership with the NBA, which began more than 30 years ago when the league helped to introduce the sport of basketball to Special Olympics.

High-resolution photos of the game are available on Special Olympics Flickr photo-stream and NBA Cares Facebook page.

High-resolution videos of player interviews and player highlights are available on Special Olympics Flickr video-stream.


About NBA Cares

NBA Cares is the league's global social responsibility program that builds on the NBA's mission of addressing important social issues in the United States and around the world.  Through this program, the NBA, its teams and players have donated more than $230 million to charity, completed more than 2.8 million hours of hands-on community service, and created more than 860 places where kids and families can live, learn, or play, in 25 countries and territories on five continents.  NBA Cares works with internationally recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes, including: KaBOOM!, Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, UNICEF, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Share Our Strength and GLAAD.

About ESPN3

ESPN3 is ESPN's live multi-screen sports network, a destination that delivers thousands of exclusive sports events annually.  It is accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and streamed on televisions through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members, Apple TV and Roku.  The network is currently available to more than 85 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider.  The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smartphones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is an international organization that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports every day around the world. Through work in sports, health education and community building, Special Olympics is addressing inactivity, injustice, intolerance and social isolation by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities which leads to a more welcoming and inclusive society. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 4.2 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics is able to deliver 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 70,000 competitions throughout the year. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage on Twitter @specialolympics; and Facebook fb.com/specialolympics

Contacts

Chris Legentil
NBA Communications
(646) 660-5934
clegentil@nba.com

Christy White
Special Olympics
(202) 738-8511
cwhite@specialolympics.org                 

Amie Dugan 
Special Olympics
(407) 455-0502 
adugan@specialolympics.org

Basketball Stars

In New Orleans, all the basketball players were stars.
See Slideshow ››


Power of Sports

Sports are a powerful way to change our athlete’s lives.
See Slideshow ››



Your Donation Matters

Special Olympics transforms athletes’ lives through the joy of sport. Help us make a difference.

DONATE TODAY»

Volunteer Near You

Volunteering with Special Olympics is fun and very rewarding, for both the athlete and the volunteer!

LEARN MORE»

Follow Us

Help us reach out to one more athlete.

Donate »

Find events near you and learn about volunteer opportunities at one of our 220 worldwide locations.

FIND A LOCATION NEAR YOU »

Videos and Photos

DifferentBarry Cairns tells what it's like to be a Special Olympics athlete.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

SpeechlessSpecial Olympics changed her life in deep and meaningful ways.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Summer GamesAround the world, months of practice are paying off.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Photos on FBSee photos and comments from our supporters around the world.See Photos »


Videos and Photos

Hope in HaitiLeo and Gedeon play in makeshift fields, tent towns, wherever they can.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Finding His VoiceDavid Egan has always dreamed big. Now look at him!Learn More »


Videos and Photos

Sport Teaches UsOur life-changing work is fueled by the power of sport.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Making SuccessDoctors said Lani is “never going to achieve anything.” Learn More »


Videos and Photos

Very Very SpecialMusic helps Special Olympics make an impact worldwide.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Around The WorldGreat photos of Special Olympics events and people.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Focus on ChangeWhat we do can't be done without our partners.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Power of SportsSports are a powerful way to change our athlete’s lives.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

What We DoSports, health, education, community and more.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Who We AreWe are athletes, families, celebs, volunteers and more.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Summer SportsOur athletes run, jump, swim and score in summer.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Playing UnifiedUnified Sports reveals strengths in every team member.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Healthier AthletesOur free health clinics are making a huge difference.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Deon NamisebHe's a speaker and role model. It didn't start that way in Namibia.Learn More »


Special Olympics Blog

Health Needs Need Closer Examination

"You can't compete if your feet hurt, if your teeth hurt or if your ears ache."read more »

Posted on 2014-04-07 by Ryan

go to blog »


*

Special Olympics - Become a Fan