The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced the launch of the NBA European Ambassador Program, which will see former NBA players engage thousands of youth through the league’s youth development efforts on the continent. The NBA European Ambassador Program will include former NBA players John Amaechi (UK), Gordan Giriček (Croatia), Marko Milič (Slovenia), Hanno Möttölä (Finland), Audie Norris (U.S.), Dino Rađa (Croatia), Vladimir Radmanović (Serbia), Efthimios Rentzias (Greece), Dragan Tarlać (Serbia), and Ronny Turiaf (France).
“I am delighted to work with the NBA to grow the game of basketball,” said Amaechi. “The NBA is dedicated to creating engaging programs for young people, providing them with a deeper understanding of the game through fun, interactive experiences with the sport. I am honored to work alongside my fellow ambassadors in this exciting program.” Throughout the year, the ambassadors will play a key role in Jr. NBA and NBA Cares programs and events in nearly 30 European countries. The Jr. NBA, the league’s global youth basketball participation program, engaged more than 12 million youth last season. NBA Cares programs and participants have provided more than 3.7 million hours of hands-on service and created more than 1,040 places where kids and families can live, learn or play in communities around the world.
What are they looking for from the European kids? “Really, the same stuff as the college guys. We look for just how they’ll fit with the Celtics and get to know their personalities a little bit,” Austin Ainge said. “Obviously, most of the things we judge them on we see in the games but this is a just a nice little piece. It is hard for young guys to earn minutes on professional teams sometimes. Sometimes we have a limited number of minutes we’ve seen them. This is always good to have them here.