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Utah Jazz: Boozer headed to Africa for charity

Published: Friday, June 5 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Nobody knows where Carlos Boozer will end up next basketball season.

Utah? Detroit? New Jersey? Canada?

But one of his future destinations is now known.

Though he might no longer be a member of the Jazz when it happens, the power forward is headed to Africa to be a charitable ambassador of sorts for the NBA this summer.

Boozer and fellow 2008 Team USA teammates Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh will participate in the league's annual Basketball without Borders program in Johannesburg, South Africa, from Sept. 2-6.

The BWB program, according to a news release, aims to develop basketball globally by creating "positive social change in the areas of education, health and wellness."

Camps will also be held in China and Mexico this year.

Former BYU basketball player Austin Ainge, who spent last year as an NBA scout for the Boston Celtics after a stint as a Southern Utah assistant coach, will also participate in the program as a coach. Ainge, son of Boston general manager Danny Ainge, is headed to Mexico with a group that will include Mexican native Eduardo Najera of the New Jersey Nets.

Yao Ming will headline the group in Beijing.

Jazz guard Kyle Korver took part in Basketball without Borders last year in India.

"Basketball without Borders helps us to grow the game of basketball and bring attention to important social issues that affect communities around the world," said Kathleen Behrens, NBA executive vice president of Social Responsibility and Player Programs. "We know that by teaching the values of the game — teamwork, sportsmanship, hard work and healthy living, our current and former players and coaches can also make a lasting impact on communities in need."

The NBA, FIBA and national federations will select the best youth players ages 19 and under from Asia, Latin America and Africa to participate in the camps.

The pro players and coaches will also work with NBA Cares, which the league calls its "social responsibility initiative," and nonprofit organizations for charity programs.

FEELING SLIGHTED?: ESPN.com writer John Hollinger gets grief (read: an inbox full of angry e-mails) from some Lakers fans even when he writes what he calls "innocuous comments" about LeBron James because the L.A. faithful apparently feel Kobe Bryant is getting slighted in the process.

It kinda reminds Hollinger of his relationship with Jazz fans.

"The only thing I can even remotely compare it to is the fervor of Utah fans wanting people in the media to say Deron Williams is better than Chris Paul," Hollinger wrote on Thursday.

"(B)ut you expect that more from a small-market team like Utah," he continued. "Jazz fans feel ignored by the media on both coasts and have a giant chip on their shoulder about it, so you can almost excuse them for wanting to compare a player with two top-five MVP finishes with one who has never been to the All-Star Game."

Wait. Was that a casual observation or a slight on Williams and Jazz fans?

Let the e-mailing begin.

NO BIG DEAL: Point guard Deron Williams isn't worried that the Jazz's October trip to Europe for two preseason games will adversely impact the club's play at the start of the 2009-10 NBA season.

"We'll still have a couple weeks until the regular season starts, so I don't see it being a problem," Williams said during a conference call this week from Spain, where he was promoting the games.

The Jazz will face the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 6 in London, and Euroleague power Real Madrid on Oct. 8 in Madrid.

ALUMNI UPDATE: The New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday announced that Utah native and ex-Jazz guard Devin Brown exercised his player option for the 2009-10 season.

Brown has played for five teams over seven NBA seasons, including 81 games (14 starts) with the Jazz in the 2005-06 season.

He will make $1,107,572 next season in the second year of a two-year contract that also includes a 10-percent trade kicker.

Contributing: Tim Buckley

E-mail: jody@desnews.com

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