Years ago in aremote corner of zambia, I met an 8-year-old boy who grew up on a dirt floor under a thatched roof and whose best item of clothing happened to be a boston celtics t-shirt. He didn't know... See More
Years ago in aremote corner of zambia, I met an 8-year-old boy who grew up on a dirt floor under a thatched roof and whose best item of clothing happened to be a boston celtics t-shirt. He didn't know the means of the words on his chest, the shirt probably came from some pile of donation, but it showed the reach of the nba brand. You see this a lot. And tonight, there's some good-hearted men within the nba, trying to help similar children in ways that go far beyond second-hand t-shirts. Here's jeffrey kofman. Here we go. One last time. One last time. Ready? Recover. Get them. Reporter: They just might be the luckiest boys in africa. And maybe the world. Excellent work, guys, excellent work. Reporter: Selected from 20 countries, flown here to johannesburg for four days of intensive basketball coaching -- basket one, far side, go. Reporter: From some of the biggest names in the world of sports. Nba, we are coming. Nba, we are coming. Reporter: That's nba, as in national basketball association. And that is nba all-star dikembe mutombo, all 72" of him. You put a lot of energy into this. Why? Because somebody did care for me for me to be where I am today. I feel like it's an obligation, to me and my duty and my power, to make sure that the next generation is successful. Drive it, drive it. Reporter: Organized and paid for by the nba, they call this basketball without borders. Attack. See the help. Where's my help? Get over here. Reporter: These kids have all played basketball before and shown some promise. But they come from countries most of us couldn't locate on a map. Cameroon. Egypt. Get your spot. Good, swing it. Reporter: That is mark hughes, director of scouting for the new york knicks. This is his fourth year volunteering as a coach here. What do you think the kids get out of it? They have heart, passion, they play hard. What they don't have is a spot of great construction. Guys, when we say attack, we want you to drive the ball to the basket. Reporter: Are you here as a coach or a scout? Both. Reporter: So, will you go back and say, hey, there are a couple of guys here we have to -- absolutely. Good shot, boy. Reporter: Just ask luc mbah a moute. He was at the first of these nba camps in africa. Good shot, good shot. Nice cut and a deep catch by mbah a moute. Reporter: Today, he makes almost $5 million as a player with the milwaukee bucks. He's one of six basketball without borders graduates now playing with the nba. For kids, they have the right to stay kids, you know? And basketball brings them back to that stage, you know, going through all the stuff they going through, wars, different, some of them losing their parents, when they get the ball, they become kids again. Reporter: Unicef has a hand in this, too. They use these guys to help get a message to americans who often tune out when they hear the words africa and poverty. I get that unicef worries about food, about water, about shelter. But basketball? When the big players stand at the podium and talk about their game, but also talk about the children of africa, america hears it. Block and block. Reporter: When you look at the faces of the boys in this clinic, do you see something different from a clinic of american kids? I see a certain gratitude level that's different. And I see them looking for a road out. Not a road to glory, a road out of poverty. Reporter: Many of these boys have never been outside their countries before. Never been on an airplane. Okay, so, show me what you can do. At 6'8", he's from africa's south sudan. For the moment, though, he is thrilled to finally have shoes that fit his size 17 feet. This is amazing. I'm really great I got the shoes without paying, so, this is very -- it's very good, really. Reporter: By the fourth and final day of nba camp, you start to see a difference. Go, go, go. Reporter: The boys have been divided into teams and they are playing better. Playing as a team. Hamza is from nigeria. What have you learned here that you didn't know before about basketball? I have learned that the more I share the ball, the more my teammates want to play. The more they want to participate in the game. And the better chance we have to win. Reporter: Mark hughes, the scout from the new york knicks, has seen some promising prospects. Any of them impress you? Yeah, I think a lot of the kids were imblepressive. They are so energetic. For us, there are a few guys that I think may have a chance. Good job. Good job, guys, good job. Reporter: Most, of course, won't make it to the nba. But they will go home with skills that they can pass to others. On a continent filled with despair, this is about using hoops to explore hope. I'm jeffrey kofman for
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