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ADDING MULTIMEDIA NBA, WNBA, Africare and ExxonMobil Launch New Initiative to Engage and Empower Nigeria’s Youth

  ADDING MULTIMEDIA NBA, WNBA, Africare and ExxonMobil Launch New Initiative
  to Engage and Empower Nigeria’s Youth

   Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, former NBA player Obinna Ekezie and WNBA
 All-Star Swin Cash tip off “Power Forward,” a program to foster life skills
      and build health knowledge through basketball in 10 Abuja schools

Business Wire

ABUJA, Nigeria -- November 19, 2013

The National Basketball Association (NBA), Women’s National Basketball
Association (WNBA), Africare and ExxonMobil today announced the launch of
“Power Forward,” a youth engagement initiative that will use basketball to
develop health, leadership and life skills in Nigeria. Nigerian native and
Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, fellow countryman and former NBA player Obinna
Ekezie and three-time WNBA champion Swin Cash joined leading Nigerian
government officials in tipping off the program today during a two-day launch
event in Abuja.

Over 50 Students from several high schools in Abuja, Nigeria participated at
the launch ceremony of ...

Over 50 Students from several high schools in Abuja, Nigeria participated at
the launch ceremony of the Power Forward program sponsored by ExxonMobil,
NBA/WNBA and Africare. Picture shows the students at the launch event with
Nigeria's Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; NBA Hall of Famer,
Hakeem Olajuwon; former NBA player, Obinna Ekezie; WNBA All Star, Swin Cash
and executives from the 3 partner organizations. (Photo: Business Wire)

“Young people are the future of our country,” said Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi,
Nigerian Minister of Sports and Supervising Minister for Youth Development.
“The Power Forward initiative will teach young Nigeriansteamwork,
communication and persistence—the same skills they need to grow into future
leaders in their communities.”

“Power Forward” is being introduced at 10 public and private high schools in
Abuja and will engage 300 students, with equal representation of boys and
girls. The NBA, WNBA, Africare and ExxonMobil have worked with local school
and education officials to develop the innovative program. Africare
collaborated with YEDI (Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative) to
create the initiative’s comprehensive life skills element.

This includes a curriculum that teaches leadership skills and builds health
awareness through a combination of classroom and athletic activities. Students
will progress along a clear path, and be evaluated at different stages, so
they have goals to strive toward during the program. Each school will have a
coach assigned to oversee the curriculum, guide students through lessons and
monitor progress. The partners have committed to ensure each institution has
the supplies, support and basketball facilities it needs to make this program
a success.

“Nigeria’s vibrant youth and sports culture makes the country an ideal place
to launch this new initiative to equip tomorrow’s leaders with the skills
they’ll need to thrive,” said Amadou Gallo Fall, NBA Vice President,
Development – Africa. “The NBA and WNBA are committed to working with our
partners across Africa to use the power of basketball to positively impact
social change. Together with ExxonMobil and Africare, we will promote the core
values of our game to help young people learn how to succeed both on and off
the court.”

The launch was marked by a two-day “tip-off” event held at the Government
Secondary School in Wuse and the Old Parade Ground in Abuja. Olajuwon, Ekezie
and Cash joined 100 youth participants on the court for a series of basketball
drills. Basketball is Nigeria’s second most popular sport with increased
interest at the grassroots level across the country following the national
team’s first-ever qualification in the Olympic Basketball Tournament in 2012.
Over 20 current and former players with Nigerian descent have played in the
NBA, more than any other African country.

"The objectives of the initiative are at the heart of what our federation
strives to achieve with the young people we work with: getting them to stay in
school and be useful members of society, and cultivating a sound mind in a
sound body," said Tijani Umar, President, Nigeria Basketball Federation. "This
way, the future of the game is also guaranteed in our country. It is therefore
natural for us to support this program."

“We are proud to team up with the NBA, WNBA and ExxonMobil to bring this
program to Nigerian youth,” said Darius Mans, President of Africare, the
program’s primary implementing partner. “Each organization brings unique
skills to this dynamic partnership, and the sum of what we can do together
outweighs what each of us could have done alone.”

“Power Forward” is aligned with ongoing efforts of the Nigerian government,
such as the Saving One Million Lives campaign, to drive economic prosperity
and improve public heath, particularly among youth. This program will bolster
these efforts by teaching crucial skills to Nigerian youth. The program is
designed so that the initial participants, who will all be in their final
three years of high school, can then mentor younger students, magnifying the
program’s impact.

“This is an opportunity to help young people in Nigeria develop important
skills they need through an innovative community-based program,” said Mark R.
Ward, Chairman and Managing Director of ExxonMobil Upstream subsidiaries in
Nigeria. “Nigeria’s young people want to make a positive difference in their
communities. Our goal is to provide them with the tools to do so.”

In addition to the tip-off event in Abuja, the partnership will include
additional milestone events in Nigeria and Washington, D.C. later in the
school year. NBA and WNBA players, legends, coaches, and trainers will unite
to call attention to the importance of youth empowerment and allow both boys
and girls to meet positive role models. Through these events, the partners
hope to raise awareness of the importance of investing in youth and galvanize
new commitments for action.

About Africare:

Africare is a leading non-governmental organization (NGO) committed to
addressing African development and policy issues by working in partnership
with African people to build sustainable, healthy and productive communities.
Since 1970, Africare has provided well over $1 billion of assistance and
support through more than 2,500 projects in Agriculture & Food Security;
Water, Sanitation & Hygiene; Women’s Empowerment; and Health, HIV & AIDS that
have impacted millions of beneficiaries in 36 countries in Africa. Visit
www.africare.org for more information.

About ExxonMobil:

ExxonMobil and the ExxonMobil Foundation engage in a range of philanthropic
activities that improve basic education, promote women as catalysts for
development, and combat malaria and other infectious diseases in developing
countries. In 2012, together with its employees and retirees, ExxonMobil, its
divisions and affiliates, and the ExxonMobil Foundation provided $256 million
in contributions worldwide. Additional information on ExxonMobil’s community
partnerships and contribution programs is available at
www.exxonmobil.com/community.

About the National Basketball Association (NBA):

The NBA is a global sports and media business built around three professional
sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National
Basketball Association, and the NBA Development League. The league has
established a major international presence with games and programming in 215
countries and territories in 47 languages and NBA merchandise for sale in more
than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on 6 continents. NBA rosters currently
feature a record 92 international players from 39 countries and territories.
NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, which is available in more than 61
million U.S. homes, and NBA.com, which averages more than 42 million page
views per day, more than half of which originate from outside of North
America. The NBA is the No. 1 professional sports league on social media, with
more than 475 million likes and followers globally across all league, team,
and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league and its teams and players
have donated more than $225 million to charity, completed more than 2.6
million hours of hands-on community service, and created more than 830 places
where kids and families can live, learn, or play.

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Contact:

Media Contacts:
EXP Nigeria
Noney Ocheli, +234 1 448 3360
M: +234 8033 512 675
noney.ocheli@expnigeria.com
or
EXP South Africa
Kaunda Chama, +2711 545 5340
M: +27834268035
Kaunda.chama@expagency.biz
or
ExxonMobil Contacts:
Nigel Cookey-Gam, +234 817 206 7752
or
Richard Keil, 972-444-1641
or
NBA Contact:
Carmine N. Tiso, 212-407-8208
or
Africare Contact:
Nicole Miles, 301-807-9085
 
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