Brook Lopez has just returned from NBA goodwill missions in Northern Ireland and the Philippines. C.J. Watson is in Senegal for the State Department's Sports Envoys before joining Basketball Without Borders in South Africa. When he returns, MarShon Brooks will head to Russia for the first Basketball Without Borders in Mikhail Prokhorov's homeland.
Since buying the team, Prokhorov has spoken about making the Nets a global team and his players Global Nets. This summer, the Nets aren't circling the globe like they like did in 2010. Instead, it's been about making the Nets' presence felt in the world community, trying to mend political fences in Nicosia and Belfast, providing aid to flood victims in Manila or simply running youth clinics in Dakar, Johannesburg and Moscow.
July 27 - August 1 - Assistant Coach Doug Overton travels to Cyprus to run a clinic for 32 Greek and Turkish Cypriot children on the divided Mediterranean island, part of Peace Players International, a global organization financed in part by Prokhorov and on whose board, Nets executive Irina Pavlova sits. "Having someone like Coach Overton as a part of the camp infuses new energy into our efforts, and the kids and coaches learned so much from him," said Marina Vasilara, PeacePlayers – Cyprus Managing Director.
August 10 - Brook Lopez travels to Belfast, Northern Ireland for the B.I.G. the Belfast Interface Games on a local soccer pitch. Irish Catholic and Protestant children participated in the multi-day event, which featured Lopez on opening day. "Brook was wonderful with the kids. He jumped right in and played soccer, rugby, basketball and Gaelic football. His enthusiasm and energy were contagious and made the event even more special," says Brendan Tuohey, Executive Director of PeacePlayers International.
August 17 - 20 - Lopez goes more than halfway around the world to Manila, the Philippines for the NBA 3x3 event, participating in an NBA Cares event in flood-ravaged Taguig, running a clinic and distributing food aid to victims of recent flooding. During the event, Lopez befriended a wheelchair-bound five-year-old. "He sat down next to a kid in a wheelchair, and talked to him for about an hour," recalled a Nets fan who goes by the handle, Filipino Pride. "It was not your usual athlete photo op wherein the athlete poses for some pictures and gives out autographs. He sat down on the floor next to the kid and talked to him as if he's his little brother."
August 24 - 28 - C.J. Watson, along with former NBA great Chamique Holdsclaw, travel to Dakar, Senegal, as part of the State Department's "Sports Envoys" program. Watson and Holdsclaw hold several co-ed basketball clinics to engage underserved youth in the cities of Dakar and Thies; attend a high school basketball tournament; and participate in an event marking the 10th anniversary of SEEDs, a Senegalese NGO using sports to promote education. Watson, while in Dakar, tweets how he's sorry he couldn't be in Las Vegas for one of his foundation events: "Glad the quiet storm foundation back to school event went well today in vegas wish I could've been there to handout school supplies."
August 30 - September 2 - Watson moves on to Johannesburg for BWB Africa after the conclusion of the Senegal events. There, players from 26 countries will travel over 60,000 miles from all four corners of the African continent and descend on Johannesburg for the four-day basketball camp.
September 11 - 17 - Brooks heads east to Moscow for Basketball Without Borders, Russia, the first BWB to be held in Prokhorov's homeland. He will help run a weeklong camp for 50 top teenaged European prospects along with San Antonio's Danny Green, Andrei Kirilenko of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Timofey Mozgov, of the Denver Nuggets at the camp. Said Seth Cohen, Brooks agent, "The NBA knows MarShon and they love the way he carries himself and represents the Nets and the NBA.''
""As a basketball team, we understand that the sport teaches players important life lessons about teamwork and sportsmanship, and we’re excited to help bring people together," says Pavlova, president of Prokhorov's holding company, Onexim Sports and Entertainment USA.