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NBA-WNBA envoys thrill local basketball scene

WNBA Hall of Famer Sue Wicks (fourth left) and new Miami Heat player Wayne Ellington (second right) have been in Cambodia to help promote basketball and inspire the Kingdom’s youth. Photo supplied
WNBA Hall of Famer Sue Wicks (fourth left) and new Miami Heat player Wayne Ellington (second right) have been in Cambodia to help promote basketball and inspire the Kingdom’s youth. Photo supplied

NBA-WNBA envoys thrill local basketball scene

The United States NBA-WNBA basketball envoys Wayne Ellington and Sue Wicks took home fond memories of their unique Cambodian experience while leaving lasting impressions of their skills and passion for the game on young minds embracing the sport in the Kingdom.

As an inspiration to the less privileged, Ellington and Wicks visited the facilities of Education NGO Pour Un Sourire D’Enfant (PSE).

“I am delighted to be here and hopefully my presence will help inspire younger athletes – especially girls – to take to basektball,” Wicks said.

It was a hectic long weekend for new Miami Heat signing Ellington and celebrated women’s coach, former New York Liberty star and WNBA Hall of Famer Wicks. They tirelessly hopped from one event to another with remarkable zest.

With the spirit and the professional fashion that marked their playing careers, the stars attended multiple engagements, from meet-and-greet events, school visits, drills, fun games and interactive sessions with hundreds of impressionable basketball minds.

The Cambodian basketball community has been hailing as epoch-making the high profile visit by the US envoys, one arranged by the State Department with the active involvement of the US Embassy in Phnom Penh.

Representing the two influential American basketball bodies, it was a great privilege for a fledgling basketball community like Cambodia’s to get up close and personal with stars like Ellington and Wicks.

The most touching sight of all was their presence at a wheelchair basketball game. Shooting drills and coaching clinics opened participants’ eyes to the dynamic new world of basketball.

A visit to Wat Koh High School was something special and the envoys showed off their painting skills by helping out with the renovation of a basketball court.

And a courtesy visit to the CIA First International School was an exciting affair for the students.

Ellington said he was thrilled to do his bit to promote basketball in places where the sport is just begining to take root.

Summing up the envoys’ visit to the Kingdom as a fabulous gift from the NBA and WNBA, the vice president of the Cambodian Basketball Federation, Ouk Sethycheat, said he looked forward to witnessing a positive change in the dynamic of the country’s basketball scene after the visit by the stars.

He presented mementoes to Ellington, Wicks and Troy Justice, the NBA’s senior director of international basketball operations, after a dinner reception hosted by the Fulbright University Alumni Association.

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