Basketball stars host Roebourne basketball clinics
A group of Australian basketball legends were in Roebourne last week to train with local children and educate them about the dangers of smoking.
Former Chicago Bulls and Australian Boomers player Luc Longley, Olympic medallist Jenni Screen, Perth Wildcats captain Damian Martin and former vice-captain Greg Hire joined an excited group of youngsters at the Roebourne basketball courts for a series of training clinics last Friday.
The stars’ visit was organised by Roebourne’s Mawarnkarra Health Service, as part of its Butt Out to Ball Out anti-smoking program.
Longley said he hoped he and the other visiting basketballers could inspire local children to avoid smoking, noting it was a major barrier to sporting success.
“It’s a game changer for playing any sort of sport, competitively or professionally,” he said.
“I played 10 years of professional basketball in America and nearly 20 years of elite basketball all up and I never saw anyone who was any good who smoked. It’s an obvious relationship.”
He said his main messages around smoking were that it was a lot easier not to start than to quit, it was not cool and adults and older children should consider the example they set for younger children by smoking.
Mawarnkarra Tackling Indigenous Smoking leader Sahneemah Moncrieff said the athletes’ visit had been made possible after Mawarnkarra received more funding in the wake of a similar visit from AFL stars Josh Kenn-edy, Willie Rioli, Kirby Bentley and Alicia Janz last year.
She said basketball’s popu-larity in Roebourne made it a good vehicle for promoting the anti-smoking message.
“Hearing from these stars, they can see their successful journeys,” she said.
“Longley has played with great legends like Michael Jordan, and Damian Martin, being the Wildcats captain and Greg Hire, being (former) vice-captain, they will be an inspiration to these children.”
Mawarnkarra plans to hold another similar event with more star athletes in June.
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