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NBA and Special Olympics Team up for Unified Sports Basketball Game

As part of NBA All-Star 2014, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Special Olympics announced the third annual NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Sports® Basketball Game.


A Weekend of Unified Activities

With support from The Coca-Cola Company and ESPN, the game will tip off at NBA All-Star Jam Session at Sprint Arena, in New Orleans, La., on Sunday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET, prior to the 63rd NBA All-Star Game that evening. ESPN3 will provide live coverage of the game at 

This year’s Unified Sports Basketball Game will feature 12 Special Olympics athletes from around the globe – including Jacob Majors of Lake Charles, Louisiana – playing alongside NBA Legends Dikembe Mutombo, Detlef Schrempf, Ron Harper, A.C. Green, and current WNBA stars Tamika Catchings, Lindsey Harding, Ruth Riley and Elena Delle Donne, a Special Olympics Global Ambassador. 

NBA rising stars Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo, Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Trey Burke will serve as honorary coaches with father-son duo Dell and Stephen Curry participating in the honorary tip-off and All-Star Kevin Love handling player-introduction duties.  

First held at NBA All-Star 2012, the Special Olympics Unified Sports® Basketball Game will combine athletes – with and without intellectual disabilities – as teammates to showcase the power of Special Olympics’ Unified Sports®, which helps unite communities and foster an environment of acceptance and inclusion. 

Prior to the game, NBA All-Star and Special Olympics Global Ambassador Damian Lillard and NBA legend Felipe Lopez will instruct a clinic for 75 local Special Olympics athletes at 11:00 a.m. CST/12:00 p.m. ET. 

“We are excited to team up with our longtime partners Special Olympics, The Coca-Cola Company and ESPN to host this wonderful event for the third time,” said Todd Jacobson, NBA Senior Vice President, Social Responsibility.  “The Unified Game is a great platform that breaks down stereotypes in a really fun way and shows the power of sport in bringing people together.” The NBA’s global partnership with Special Olympics began more than 30 years ago when the league helped introduce basketball as a new sport to the organization. The NBA has since provided sponsorship to Special Olympics basketball tournaments, created public service announcements featuring NBA players, and participated in major Special Olympics events. Through NBA Cares, the NBA Family has hosted international clinics for Special Olympics athletes in China, Puerto Rico, Russia, France, Greece, Italy, Brazil, Spain and Mexico. In 2013, ESPN was announced as Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports, supporting Special Olympics’ goal of registering one million Unified Sports participants and coaches by 2015. “We are so grateful to our longtime partners at the NBA, and also to our Founding Partner, Coca-Cola, and our newest partner ESPN, for their support of this third annual Special Olympics Unified Sports® basketball game,” said Janet Froetscher, CEO, Special Olympics. “To showcase the power of Special Olympics Unified Sports on such a huge global stage like this presents an incredible opportunity for us to increase awareness and educate communities about acceptance and inclusion for all people.”

An Unforgettable Weekend

These 12 Special Olympics athletes will be treated to an unforgettable NBA All-Star experience including dinner with an NBA legend, in-arena recognition at State Farm NBA All-Star Saturday Night, and tickets to the NBA All-Star Game. 

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, 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 Engage on Twitter @specialolympics; and Facebook


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