President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday met at his residence with a delegation of leading figures from the US National Basketball Association (NBA). The group, led by NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO Mark Tatum, included club owners, chairmen, board members, and members of the NBA Hall of Fame David Robinson, and Wayne Embry.
The President welcomed the delegation and spoke of the impact all sports have on our society. He told his guests, “You all know very well that whatever sport we are talking about, a team is a symbol of community, of values. It represents hopes and dreams. The NBA and the WNBA represent the hopes and dreams of so many young boys and girls around the world. For them you are a role model and an example. This is a great responsibility.”
The President continued, “Sports have the great power to break down barriers between people from different communities. In Israel, we are working to build this understanding. I am proud of the work my office is doing through the ‘Israeli Hope in Sports’ project.”
He told them of the Shield of Honor award presented by the President’s Office to Israeli Premier League soccer clubs, in recognition of efforts to fight racism in soccer, and stressed, “We bring Jews and Arabs children together to play side by side. Because a society that plays together, stays together.”
Tatum told the President about the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders initiative, taking place for the first time in Israel this year, bringing children from different communities to play and train together.