For information only - not an official document.
Press Release No:  UNIS/NAR/685
Release Date:  28 March 2000
 United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) Teams Up with National Basketball Association (NBA) and Sacramento Kings Star Vlade Divac

VIENNA, 28 March (UN Information Service) --  The United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) will announce the world-wide launch of an anti-drug public service announcement featuring Sacramento Kings star Vlade Divac as part of Global Week activities at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in New York on Thursday, 30 March, 1 p.m. UNDCP also named Mr. Divac a "Goodwill Ambassador for Sports against Drugs".

The television spot features Mr. Divac promoting playing sports instead of using drugs. "Playing basketball taught me the value of determination and teamwork," Divac says in the thirty-second video. "So don’t play with drugs, play sports, and realize your dreams."  The video was created in both English and Mr. Divac's native Serbian and was jointly produced by NBA Entertainment and UNDCP. 

"We need more role models, like Vlade Divac, who love sports and want to communicate the dangers of abusing drugs to young people around the world," said United Nations Under Secretary-General Pino Arlacchi, the Executive Director of the Vienna-based UNDCP. "This is a great example of how professional sports leagues can work with the UN to promote a drug-free world."

UNDCP will also unveil a Vlade Divac poster with the message, "Sports. Not Drugs". The poster will be distributed around the world through UNDCP's field offices and in conjunction with the public service announcement.

"We are proud to partner with the United Nations to deliver this important message to children," said Hall of Famer Bob Lanier, NBA TeamUp Chairman. "The NBA encourages its teams and players to reach out to the community and Divac's participation in the United Nations Drug Control Programme is another great example of how NBA teams and players can be catalysts for positive change in the world." 

UNDCP is working in more than 70 countries around the world to reduce the abuse, trafficking and production of illegal drugs. Reaching out to young people by encouraging them to lead active and drug-free lives is an important part of UNDCP's international efforts to reduce the demand for illegal drugs.

The NBA and its players recognize and embrace their responsibility as concerned corporate citizens by supporting causes that help people achieve an improved quality of life. Special emphasis is placed on serving the needs and recognizing the accomplishments of young people. Efforts also focus on education, literacy, volunteerism and child abuse prevention.

Divac is considered one of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's greatest basketball players. He led the Yugoslavian team to silver medals at the 1988 Seoul and 1996 Atlanta Olympic games. A skilled shooter, passer, rebounder and shotblocker, Vlade Divac has become one of the most versatile centers in the NBA, playing seven solid seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, before moving to Charlotte and then to Sacramento in 1998 and continuing his fine all-around play.

Divac is a native of Prijepole, Yugoslavia,  and the founder of the "Divac Fund" which helps raise money for children affected by the war in Yugoslavia through the St. John Foundation. He is a finalist for the 1999-2000 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, voted by the Professional Basketball Writers Association, and presented annually to a NBA player who has shown an outstanding commitment to the community. He also has been nominated for election to the International Olympic Committee.

For more information, please contact:

Zach Messitte, UNDCP, (212) 963-2710
Helen Wong, NBA, (212) 407-8299
Tim Carlsgaard, UNDCP, (43-1) 260 60 4150

* * * * *