Before the 2014 NBA All Stars compete in New Orleans tomorrow night, Special Olympics Unified Sports athletes will shine when ESPN3 provides live coverage of the third-annual NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Sports Basketball Game from the NBA All-Star Jam Session (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET).
Unified Sports combines athletes with and without intellectual disabilities as teammates, while empowering engagement through the power of sports. Tomorrow afternoon’s game will feature 12 Special Olympics athletes from around the world playing alongside NBA and WNBA stars and legends. Current NBA players will participate in pre-game ceremonies and as honorary coaches (see bottom of post for roster of names).
ESPN is a global presenting sponsor and official media sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports. As part of this collaboration, which expands on ESPN and Disney’s 30-year commitment to Special Olympics, ESPN supports Special Olympics’ goal of registering one million Unified Sports participants, including athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities), teammates (individuals without intellectual disabilities) and coaches, by 2015. Currently, more than 618,000 Special Olympics athletes and their unified teammates participate globally in Unified Sports.
“This is a great opportunity to use the reach of all ESPN platforms to introduce Special Olympics Unified Sports to new audiences as we continue to grow participation worldwide,” said Vice President, Global Corporate Outreach Kevin Martinez. “We are proud to be working with the NBA and The Coca-Cola Company to promote acceptance and inclusion in all communities through the power of sports.”
This year’s Unified Sports Basketball Game will include 2014 NBA All-Star Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves (player introductions); 2014 NBA All-Star Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and his father Dell (NBA Legend) (ceremonial ball tip); Michael Carter-Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers (honorary coach); Tim Hardaway, Jr. of the New York Knicks (honorary coach); Victor Oladipo of the Orlando Magic (honorary coach); Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz (honorary coach); Dikembe Mutombo (NBA Legend); Ron Harper (NBA Legend); Sam Perkins (NBA Legend); Detlef Schrempf (NBA Legend); A.C. Green (NBA Legend); Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky and Special Olympics Global Ambassador; Lindsey Harding of the Los Angeles Sparks; Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever; and Ruth Riley of the Atlanta Dream.