U.S. Embassy Singapore’s Sports Envoy Program 2022

U.S. Embassy in Singapore’s “Shoot for the Stars” Clinic Engages Singaporean Youth with Former NBA and WNBA Players

U.S. Embassy Singapore organized “Shoot for the Stars”, a basketball clinic engaging over 120 young players led by former NBA player Al-Farouq Aminu and WNBA player Imani McGee-Stafford at the Singapore Sports Hub OCBC Arena on 5 November, 2022.

The event was part of the four-day U.S. Department of State’s Sports Envoy Program in Singapore which gave the two American basketball professionals an opportunity to engage with students from Jurong Secondary School and Jurong West Secondary School, as well as children and youth from diverse communities like SportCares, APSN Delta Senior School, Singapore Girls’ Home, Muhammadiyah Welfare Home, and Darul Ihsan Orphanage (Girls).

Young Singaporean athletes from the ActiveSG Basketball Academy (ABA) and the Singapore Slingers were also invited to experience training with the two basketball professionals during the “Shoot for the Stars” clinic.

U.S. Embassy Singapore Deputy Chief of Mission Casey Mace said in his opening remarks at the clinic, “One of the things I love about sports is how they bring people from all over the world together, not only for fun, but for the incredible learning experiences and unforgettable moments. The U.S. Department of State’s Sports Envoy Program exists because we believe in the power of sports.”

The Sports Envoy Program seeks to promote cross-cultural understanding and empower the next generation of athletes as leaders in sports. Through basketball, a distinctly American game, Singaporean youth learned valuable lessons of teamwork, determination, and camaraderie from our experts while also practicing the sport.

The U.S. Embassy Singapore thanks its partners for organizing the clinic: NBA Asia, Sports Singapore, Singapore Slingers, and Singapore Sports Hub.
Annex: Player’s profiles 

Al-Farouq Aminu
Birthday: September 21, 1990 (age 32)
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Al-Farouq Ajiede Aminu is a Nigerian-American professional basketball player who last played for the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He plays internationally with the Nigeria national basketball team.

Aminu was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2010 NBA draft with the eighth overall pick, and has also played for the New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, Orlando Magic, and Chicago Bulls.Aminu averaged over 17 points per game in four games in the 2017-18 playoffs, and was an important cog in the Blazers surprise 2019 Western Conference Finals run, starting 16 playoff games over that time and giving the Blazers a valuable presence at forward.

Aminu plays for the Nigerian national team. According to NBC Sports Northwest and Sports Illustrated, Aminu is a descendant from a line of Nigerian kings and his name translates to “The chief has arrived”. 

Imani McGee-Stafford
Dallas Wings, #34, Center
Birthday: October 11, 1994 (age 28)
Hometown: Inglewood, California 

Imani McGee-Stafford is a WNBA player, abuse survivor, mental health advocate, and poet. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Accounting from The McCombs School of Business.

At Texas, she left her name in the record books becoming the first UT women’s basketball player to garner over 1000 points, 1000 rebounds and 200 blocks. She was drafted 10th overall in the 2016 WNBA Draft to the Chicago Sky and has since played for the Atlanta Dream and Dallas Wings. She has also played professionally overseas in Turkey, China, Israel, Australia, and Lebanon.

While her 6’7” frame made her presence felt on the court, she left her biggest impact off the court when she chose to speak out about her struggles with mental health and overcoming her abusive childhood on SportsCenter in a segment called SC Featured: Her Voice.

In college, she stumbled across her life purpose: providing a voice to the silenced. She now takes every opportunity she can to live in her truth and hopefully provide light to those going through or who have been through the same struggles.

In the spring of 2020, she announced that she is stepping away for the next two WNBA seasons to pursue a Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles.