By Official Release
MANILA, Philippines – Special Olympics Philippines is proud to announce that 22-year-old Raymond Macaspac of San Fernando, La Union, has been selected to be part of the third annual NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Sports Basketball Game, as part of this year’s at NBA All-Star Jam Session in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Sunday, Feb. 16, at 1:00 p.m. CST, prior to the 63rd NBA All-Star Game that evening.
This year’s Unified Sports Basketball Game will feature 12 Special Olympics athletes from around the globe, including Macaspac, playing alongside NBA and WNBA players and legends.
First held at NBA All-Star 2012, the Special Olympics Unified Sports basketball game will combine athletes – with and without intellectual disabilities – as teammates to showcase the power of Special Olympics’ Unified Sports, which helps unite communities and foster an environment of acceptance and inclusion.
“As the first Special Olympics athlete from Philippines to play in the NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Sports Basketball Game, Raymond will represent his community, to advance understanding of people with intellectual disabilities in Philippines,” says Kaye Samson, National Director of Special Olympics Philippines. “Since joining Special Olympics, Raymond has overcome his shyness, gained social skills and confidence through sport, and most recently, led his basketball team to a gold medal for the Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games in Newcastle, Australia. We are very thankful to Special Olympics and the NBA Cares for their efforts to change and touch many lives.”
The NBA’s global partnership with Special Olympics began more than 30 years ago when the league helped to introduce basketball as a new sport to the organization. The NBA has since provided sponsorship to Special Olympics basketball tournaments, created public service announcements featuring NBA players, and participated in major Special Olympics events. The NBA's Basketball without Borders program has also featured international clinics for Special Olympics athletes in China, Puerto Rico, Russia, France, Greece, Italy, Brazil, Spain and Mexico. In 2013, ESPN was announced as Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports, supporting Special Olympics’ goal of registering one million Unified Sports participants and coaches by 2015.
NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Sports Basketball Game Roster:
Travis Jackson, Florida Mackenzie Beauvais-Nikl, Colorado
Raymond Macaspac, Philippines Paul Hoffman, California
Mack Sephonne, Pennsylvania Sam Schwab, Wyoming
Chen Xiao Chan, China Valerie Lynch, Ireland
Heba Elsayed Mohamed, Egypt Edwin González, Puerto Rico
Kadijatou Kone, Senegal Jacob Majors, Louisiana
These 12 Special Olympics athletes will be treated to an unforgettable NBA All-Star experience including dinner with an NBA legend, in-arena recognition at State Farm NBA All-Star Saturday Night, and tickets to the NBA All-Star Game.
Photo: (L-R) Paolo Ortega (Head Coach, Special Olympics Philippines-La Union), Kaye Samson (National Executive Director, Special Olympics Philippines), Raymond "BigMac" Macaspac, and Louie Aquino (Coach, Special Olympics Philippines-La Union)
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