Johannesburg, South Africa
In the summer of 2007, Martin made the journey to South Africa and was moved by how the spirit could prevail in the face of such poverty. Kevin joined forces with NBA Cares, Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Program and Habitat for Humanity.
The purpose of the program is to use basketball as an influence for positive social change. Kevin, who has shown dedication to charitable efforts in the United States, wanted to make this trip to help make a difference in the lives of those who live in some of the worst conditions in the world.
Martin, along with other NBA players and coaches, focused their service on education, grassroots basketball development and health related issues with a focus on HIV/AIDS advocacy. One of the highlights of the community outreach was the creation of an NBA Cares live, learn or play space.
On the first day of activity Kevin and his NBA brethren celebrated the 20th anniversary of Soweto Kliptown Youth (SKY) Trust. Soweto stands for SOuth WEstern TOwnship, encompassing the poorest areas of Johannesburg. Many residents of Kliptown live in shacks and share toilets and water sources. Kevin and the group were led on a walking tour through the township to experience first hand life in the extreme poverty stricken area.
BWB also featured a donation drive for local organizations that included school supplies, toys, clothing, toiletries and hygiene products, books, and other necessities. In addition to teaching basketball skills, Kevin and his cohorts also gave daily motivational life-skills seminars that were conducted for the campers - some of the region's best basketball players 19 years and younger - on various topics such as leadership, character development, teamwork and HIV/AIDS awareness and education.
Kevin helped build two houses in Katlehong in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity South Africa, which has built 33 houses in Katlehong since 2005. The recipients of the two new houses were chosen by their peers in Katlehong based on immediate need.
On the last day of BWB, Kevin joined the rest of the group in a partnership with Cotlands, a nonprofit organization in Johannesburg that operates one of the most renowned pediatric AIDS hospices for children up to nine years old.
The NBA players and coaches dedicated a new home-based care facility in Soweto, as well. The new facility, jointly funded by the NBA and the De Beers Fund, will provide home-based care for chronically and terminally ill children, serve as a place for caregiver support programs and will have an area for income generation projects.
In the spring of 2009, when the NBA reached out to Kevin Martin to gauge his interest in traveling to Indonesia for 10 days over the summer as a player representative for the NBA, he did not hesitate for a minute to accept. He remembered the impact that he was able to make on his trip to Africa back in 2007. He decided immediately to jump at the chance to again give back on a global level.
Martin met with government officials, heads of major Indonesian corporations, and visited the local landmarks. Read more about it here →
The primary role for Martin on this trip was to be an Ambassador for the NBA, working with NBA Asia, and the DetEksi Basketball League (DBL). This would be the first-ever joint basketball development camp between the NBA and DBL. It was a three-day camp for the top 48 basketball players Indonesia. This camp focused on basketball training, as well as off-court personal development. Player selection was based on basketball skills, leadership ability, as well as attitude – on and off the court. Martin was a perfect fit.
Listed in camp material as a Head Coach, Martin became much more. He shared his basketball knowledge with them, and discussed the importance of leadership, teamwork, and personal character development. Martin stressed to the kids the importance of focusing on a goal, and working hard to achieve that goal. He said that with hard work and dedication, good things come. On the last day of the camp, Martin told the campers that they had worked hard all week, and he showed them first hand how that hard work paid off. Martin donated $15,000 (his payment from the NBA for the trip) to the DBL.
As is often the case with giving back, Martin came back much wealthier from this experience.