caught up with 5th year forward Luke Walton to talk about Basketball Without Borders, his new deal, and the season ahead. Talk about Basketball Without Borders and the rest of your summer.

I did my 3rd year of Basketball Without Borders. This year we went down to South America to San Paulo, Brazil with all the Brazilian players like (Suns’ guard Leandro) Barbosa, (Cavs forward Anderson) Varejao, and (Nuggets forward) Nene.

Me and a group of my buddies went down a week early and traveled around to different places. Then Basketball Without Borders flew in the best people from all over Brazil and we put on camps in the morning for them and then the NBA coaches stay and help in the afternoon and we go out into the community. We donated a learning center one place. We donated twenty computers, a library, and two full court basketball courts in a very poor neighborhood down there. We went to a children’s hospital and visited. Then we also had a day with the Special Olympics over at the basketball gym. It was a really good experience.

How did you get involved with Basketball Without Borders?

I heard they had been doing it and I heard from other people that it was a really good program so I called over to the NBA office and told them that I was interested and we needed to work something out. I went the first year (to Asia) and saw that the NBA did an unbelievable job over there. Not with just basketball, but with life skills and donating things that these other countries really need. It’s something I enjoy doing so now it’s in my plan to do it every year.

Who’s bigger in Brazil – Barbosa, Varejao, or Nene?

Probably Barbosa. He’s from Sao Paulo so he was the hometown boy. It was still crazy because we’d ask some people and they didn’t know who any of them were. It’s such a big Soccer area and other things that basketball’s not that huge down there. It’s big, but there’s a lot of sports fans that didn’t know who the guys were.

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  • fatty

    I wished they would’ve asked Luke about Kobe. It would have been a more interesting read. Any way, I hope a healthy Luke means a more consistent shooter, passer and defender. An improved Luke can mean a better Laker team.

    Luke as a leader? Interesting that he feels he now fits that role.

  • foxxy