The Sandringham Sabres and Basketball Victoria hosted a day of basketball and friendship on Wednesday 2nd March, 2011. The day included players from  visiting US naval vessel USS Shoup, Sandringham Sabres, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) players and girls from Mentone Mustangs.  There was a combined a skills session with a tightly contested pick-up game, an example of community ties between Australia and America.

The day was the brainchild of Anne King from Sports Without Borders who approached Sandringham Sabres CEO, Vince Crivelli to become involved in the project. The planning involved the US Consulate, Sandringham Sabres, Basketball Victoria and the USS Shoup, at the tail end of a 7-month mission.

SWB Chairman James Demetriou welcomed the USS Shoup players to Melbourne. He said that the US and Australia have many things in common including a united defense and he praised America’s history of athletes like Jim Thorpe and Jessie Owens who have overcome great opposition to succeed in sport.

Basketball Victoria was present on the day, keen to let everybody know that Basketball is an inclusive sport. CALD kids in Melbourne have been able to overcome hurdles such as cost of transport to become new participants in Basketball. There have also been more newly-arrived kids making their way into Elite programs, CEO of Basketball Victoria, Wayne Bird said.

The game ended with a comfortable Sabres win. Mike Allen, a sailor from Texas had been sailing for 7-months straight on the ship, found the competitionin Melbourne really tough.  In each city he has had a myriad different experiences, with this one adding to the memories. He described Australians as ‘real friendly’, one example in a day of sports' power to build friendship one game at a time.

The next large SWB event will be the Unity Cup in April. The Unity cup is an Aussie Rules lightning premiership event with four Muslim teams playing off for a winner’s cheque and bragging rights. The Cup has been running for a few years now and there will be some new exciting changes this year. More details soon.