By Patricia Mannie
James Donaldson, a former National Basketball Association All-Star center, recently returned from his historic visit to the DPRK (North Korea) on November 13. Mr. Donaldson and a delegation of various professionals and humanitarians, visited the country to meet with North Korean officials regarding sports and cultural development exchange programs. The trip was organized and headed by the non-profit organization, Global Resource Services, Inc. (GRS) www.GRSWorld.org
Donaldson became the first NBA player from the United States to ever visit North Korea, and was warmly welcomed by the Sports Development committee members to visit a multitude of sports complexes and to watch a practice game between two of North Korea’s top professional teams. After the game, Donaldson reflecting on his NBA career spoke with the team members, encouraging them to continue to work hard and play with pride as they strive to “be the best they can be”.
Mr. Donaldson, who is also a business entrepreneur, community leader, humanitarian and recently published his new book titled, “Standing Above The Crowd: Executing Your Game Plan to be the Best You Can Be”, stated “I had a fabulous experience. Everything and everyone I engaged with really impressed me, and I can see the potential and progress being made by the North Koreans”.
Donaldson, who represents and works closely assisting former NBA players in career transitional assistance programs, made the visit to the DPRK to discuss basketball development opportunities having former professional players conduct basketball training camps/clinics for the youth and professional teams in North Korea. “There’s a great deal of interest and excitement in having current and former NBA Players come and teach basketball to the youth” says Donaldson. “Young people are Young people… all around the world, and they are the future, basketball is a wonderful way to build bridges for cultural exchange… no matter what race, creed, color, culture or language… I love it!”
Donaldson has been doing a very similar basketball/educational development program in China, where he spends a great deal of time over the last couple of years.