The NBA and UNICEF have been partners since 2001 as part of NBA Cares, the basketball league's social responsibility initiative. The UNICEF/NBA relationship leverages the power of basketball and the NBA’s social responsibility efforts to support UNICEF’s lifesaving programs. With participation from the league, teams, and players, activities in the U.S. and around the world have generated over $1 million for UNICEF and raised awareness for UNICEF initiatives such as the Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS campaign.
Supporting that campaign, in June 2006, UNICEF, the NBA, the Chinese Ministry of Education and Spalding teamed up to distribute HIV/AIDS education materials in “Skills for Life in a Box” sports kits to schools in seven provinces in China. The kits were distributed by the Ministry of Education to UNICEF “Life Skills Demonstration” schools and were designed to be utilized by teachers as part of official “Health/HIV/Drug Education” classes taught in middle and high schools. The boxes contained interactive HIV/AIDS educational materials for teachers to educate students on the facts and dispel the myths about HIV/AIDS and teach them the life skills they need to make good decisions about their future behavior. In addition, each kit contained basketball equipment to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle.
UNICEF has supported the NBA’s Basketball without Borders global basketball development and community outreach program. Basketball without Borders camps use the sport of basketball to influence positive social change and feature dozens of current and former NBA players and team personnel as camp coaches. In 2007, Basketball without Borders camps took place in Shanghai, China; São Paulo, Brazil; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Paris, France.
In addition to basketball instruction, these camps for young athletes also promote friendship, healthy living and HIV and AIDS awareness and prevention. Each year, the NBA invites UNICEF to participate in the camps through UNICEF-led HIV and AIDS interactive educational seminars, fundraising events, and other activities.