Like all young stars, KP needs a mentor and without a conventional one for his skillset currently on the Knicks, the Latvian has looked to one of the league’s most respected elder statesman–Dirk Nowitzki. As you can see in the video above, the two furthered their bond while in Johannesburg for Team World at this weekend’s NBA Africa Game, which Team World won 108-97 over Team Africa behind 12 points from Porzingis. Before hanging out last week, Dirk says that he gave KP his number a few years back, saying “If there’s ever anything you need or questions, I’m more than happy to help you out.”
It’s clear there’s a close relationship between the two and there are a ton of obvious similarities besides both being European — their size, playing styles and feathery shooting touch — so it’s natural they’d flock to each other at some point. KP couldn’t pick a better player to model himself after than the NBA’s all-time leading international scorer.
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Aside from Jamaica, the list of countries that are slated to partake include Trinidad, Canada and the United States. While all players arrive on the 16th, when they will partake in a variety of community and social events, the action on the hardwood starts on Friday, August 18. The itinerary aims to balance competition, entertainment and culture immersion.
An event that originated with four teams has grown to over 12 squads and hundreds of visitors from across the world. Featured players for the 2017 Caribbean Hoopfest include Brandon Jacobs and Loseni Kamara. The Queens native duo will be entering college this on full scholarships, with Kamar attending The University of Idaho and Jacobs attending Pace University.
Caribbean Hoopfest founder Donald Francois had a vision of bringing corporate resources to an underserved region. And so while uniting the global community he partnered with ADIDAS, the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second largest in the world.
RISING STARS, a non-profit organization is also assisting with the Caribbean Hoopfest initiative. The organization is dedicated to building communities and creating more balanced individuals, which directly align with the goals and mission of the Caribbean Hoopfet–to assist in the development of life skills through basketball.
Both organizations recognized Francois’ vision and ever since have supported the idea of uniting the global community by “Bringing the Worlds Together” to teach, educate and converge the youth.
This unique event focuses on strengthening morale amongst the athletes, as well as their families, local business owners, community leaders and vendors, whom have all been impacted by the annual showcase.
“Our goal has always been to promote growth and culture and this is our best way to do it,” says Francois.
Robin’s Nest Children’s Home, an orphanage in Jamaica, recently partnered with the Hoopfest outreach program. Proceeds from numerous fundraisers will be presented to Danielle Stryka, the Director of Robin’s Nest.
Francois is also the boy’s freshman basketball assistant coach at Archbishop Molloy High School in Briarwood, Queens.
At Molloy, he’s coached and mentored current Division I prospects Cole Anthony, Moses Brown and Khalid Moore. In addition to his wide range of community projects, he is also the Director of TEAM NYC, an emerging AAU boys travel organization founded in 2012.
In Francois own words, the “commitment is not limited to basketball; It’s a commitment for life.”
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The best blocks also featured Ginobili’s superstar teammate, Leonard, who has a knack for ferocious swats. Joel Embiid bursted onto the scene in his first season with the Philadelphia 76ers, cracking the top 10 with his swat of Cody Zeller.
The year following a season that was defined by the greatest chase-down block in League history by LeBron James to seal the Cavaliers first championship in franchise history, this campaign definitely made sure that the block remained a can’t-miss highlight.
Peep the video above for the best of the best from ’16-’17 and watch the one below to see King James give his opponents nightmares.
Courtesy of NBA
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See below for full rosters:
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