Six years after visiting Dubai with the Duke Blue Devils, NBA player Mason Plumlee is set to return to the emirate to host a basketball camp for children.
Plumlee has teamed up with Duplays and East Sports Management to lead a two-day camp for youth players aged eight to 16 at GEMS Wellington Al Khail from June 27-28.
Participants will be trained by Plumlee, as well as by recent college basketball stars, including members from the 2016 NCAA champion Villanova Wildcats, along with staff from Kobe Bryant Academy.
“I’m very excited to return to Dubai – I was there a few years ago [in 2011] during a college team trip with Duke and have wanted to come back ever since,” Plumlee told Sport360°.
“The goal of the visit is to share my passion for basketball with kids and spend time exploring one of the world’s great cities. I love travelling and experiencing other places and cultures.
“Playing basketball has made a lot of this possible and I want kids in Dubai to know that it’s a sport that can open doors whether they play in the NBA or not.”
Plumlee was part of Duke’s national championship team in 2010 before being selected No22 overall in the 2013 NBA draft by Brooklyn.
During his time with the Nets, he made the NBA All-Rookie First Team and won a gold medal in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup as a member of the United States national team.
Plumlee was traded to Portland in the summer of 2015 and spent all of the following season and 54 games this past campaign with the Trail Blazers before being shipped to Denver as part of the Jusuf Nurkic trade.
With his contract now up, the 27-year-old is a free agent. Though free agency is fast approaching on July 1, Plumlee is using his trip to Dubai to focus on growing the game and giving kids a valuable coaching experience.
“Once kids have exposure to playing the game and realise how fun it can be, they’ll be hooked. Structured programmes are great, but unstructured opportunities are equally important,” Plumlee said.
“In the US you’ll find pick-up basketball being played in driveways, public parks, street corners – pretty much everywhere.
“Basketball doesn’t require a great deal of expense or a lot of space. You just need a ball and a hoop. Of course, it’s also important to have coaches, mentors and role models who can teach the basic skills and share their love for the game. That’s part of the reason I’m excited to come to Dubai.”
Kids who take part in Plumlee’s camp will have the chance to get an autograph and picture with him, as well the opportunity to walk away with prizes.
The camp runs from 14:00 to 18:00 on both days, with the cost Dh750 per person. To sign up, visit duplaysdubai.playpass.com.