Abu Dhabi: UAE Special Olympics basketball player Butti Al Sheezawi will be on court in this weekend’s NBA All-Star event in Los Angeles with the likes of LeBron James and Stephen Curry.
Al Sheezawi is flying to the US to be part of a programme between the Special Olympics and NBA Cares, the league’s global social responsibility programme, to promote Unified Sports — a social inclusion initiative for people of determination through shared sports training and competitive experiences.
He will also participate in the NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Basketball Game, supported by Shamma Bint Suhail Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Chair of the Special Olympics UAE board.
The game will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Centre on Saturday and Al Sheezawi will play alongside fellow Special Olympics athletes from around the world, as well as NBA legends and current WNBA players.
“I am delighted to represent my country and the Middle East at the NBA All-Star weekend and to participate in this famous American sport alongside other Special Olympics athletes and players with intellectual disabilities (ID) from around the world,” he said. “I can’t wait to meet all the famous players, especially Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neill who are my heroes.
“I am very proud to be an ambassador for the UAE at this international event as I prepare to represent my country at the IX MENA Games and hopefully win the gold medal.”
The 31-year-old will represent the UAE at next month’s Special Olympics IX Mena Games in Abu Dhabi and again at next year’s Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. He previously represented the UAE at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2015.
The 2018 Special Olympics IX Mena Games and Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 are a part of the UAE’s National Vision 2021 that highlights full integration of people of determination into everyday society. Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will be the most ‘unified’ games in history and promise to offer an inclusive experience for those with and without intellectual disabilities.