HoopsHype Venezuela rumors
Memphis Grizzlies guard Greivis Vasquez has taken to the court to give pointers to Venezuelan children as part of a U.S. State Department program aimed at building ties through sports. The Venezuelan player teamed up with former NBA player Darvin Ham and former WNBA Player Kayte Christensen to hold a basketball clinic for children in Caracas. Vasquez said on Friday that the purpose is for children to be motivated and that his message is that "with effort, discipline and sacrifice, all goals are possible." ESPN.com
American coach Eric Musselman on Wednesday was unveiled as the new head coach of Venezuela's men's national team that will look to qualify for the London Olympics at this summer's FIBA Americas Championship. Musselman, a former NBA head coach with the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors, takes over the position previously held by Nestor Salazar and will lead the team at the FIBA Americas Championship to be played in Mar del Plata, Argentina, between 30 August and 11 September. "I will work hard to achieve the objectives set out for Mar del Plata," said the 46-year-old of the Venezuelan Basketball Federation's (FVB) hopes to qualify for the 2012 Games or the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. "I will count on a talented selection, a group of energetic players that will work effectively." FIBA.com
Vasquez, a Venezuelan citizen, is teaming with former NBA player Darvin Ham and former WNBA player Kayte Christensen to hold basketball clinics for kids and meet with local sports officials. "We want to help young kids understand life is more than basketball. It's more than sports," Vasquez said in a telephone interview from Venezuela on Wednesday. "I want kids to understand that with hard work, everything is possible." Memphis Commercial Appeal
He said he had approached the U.S. Embassy in Caracas when renewing his visa about doing some work for the community. Vasquez declined to comment on whether the trip could help relations between the two nations. "I'm an athlete. I don't have any connection with the politics at all," Vasquez said. "It's a good sport to unite people. ... The political side I can't control." Memphis Commercial Appeal
Three current and former basketball players will be in Venezuela this week, part of a State Department "sports diplomacy" effort at a time of icy relations between the two countries. The State Department will announce that Memphis Grizzlies guard Greivis Vasquez and others are participating in the people-to-people exchange starting this Thursday. The Associated Press obtained details of the trip ahead of its official announcement. Vasquez, along with former NBA player Darvin Ham and former WNBA player Kayte Christensen, will hold basketball clinics for kids and meet with local sports officials. ESPN.com
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