As part of the National Basketball Retired Players Association’s (NBRPA) global mission to give back, a group of Legends and NBRPA staff recently completed an international mission trip to Panama along with members from the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA).
As part of the trip, players from both leagues - including NBA star Sam Perkins, WNBA star Barbara Farris and MLB’s Roberto Alomar and Carlos Baerga - participated in a series of clinics and events at MVP’s flagship facility in Panama City, Panama. More than 1000 kids made their way through the facility as part of the three-day program, which helps kids develop life skills on and off the court.
“To have the opportunity to go overseas and represent former players around the world is an incredible honor,” said Scott Rochelle, NBRPA president and CEO. “The growth of the NBA on a global scale and its rising international appeal have contributed to more opportunities for former players to visit overseas destinations.”
MVP Sports City is the largest private sports complex in Panama and Central America with the focus on developing life skills in education, sports and family. The organization’s mission is to promote the core values and excellence through sports and education by utilizing the latest training and performance techniques.
“The work of MVP Sports City and the impact the organization is having in the community was incredible to see first-hand,” said Erin Miller, senior vice president of operations and events. “We want to give our players more of these opportunities because we see the value they bring and the impact they can have.”
In addition, select players and members from both organizations had the distinct privilege of having dinner at the US Embassy with key dignitaries from the United States and Panama. Discussions centered around how grow the game of basketball in Panama and how to use sports as a vehicle for change.
“I love opportunities like this to venture out into the world and use basketball as a vehicle to impact young boys and girls,” said Sam Perkins.
Over the past 24 months, the NBRPA has funded trips for players to visit international destinations, including South Africa, Haiti and Panama. As part of the association’s global mission in 2019, the group has plans to visit additional countries by year’s end.
“I would like to thank Bruce Chen and everyone at MVP Sports City for allowing me to come to Panama and take part in these amazing clinics,” said Barbara Farris. “Learning about the culture and people of Panama has been very special and I am forever grateful for the opportunity.”