The NBA Comes to Abu Dhabi

Basketball may not be the most popular sport in Abu Dhabi — here, horse and camel racing, football, falconry, and motorsports take top spots on the list — but this past weekend close to 13,000 fans gathered at the Flash Forum on Yas Island during the inaugural NBA JamFest Abu Dhabi 2010, a three-day event that included a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, appearances by NBA legend Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon, and performances by the New York Knicks City Dancers and the Milwaukee Bucks "Rim Rockers" Dunk Team.

NYUAD was represented in the tournament by eight students, four on a women's team that participated in the Women's Division, and four on a men's team that played in the University Division. The women's team — Symone Gamble, Csilla Kiss, Darina Gancheva, and Meike Radler — played four games. The men's team — Ben Higgins, Mark Hoffman, Gary Chien, and Sidak Yntiso — however, made it to the semi-finals, only to lose at the buzzer with a score of 20-18.

"They represented NYUAD well," said Wayne Young, NYUAD associate director of Athletics. "After a season of playing together on the Duplay's League men's basketball team, they showed how that experience helped them be successful against some very good teams, some with players up to 22 years old."

The Knicks City Dancers, who took part in officially launching the event with Olajuwon, also spent some time with NYUAD students before the JamFest. Six members of the team visited Sama Tower and held a dance workshop, during which students (and some staff members, although not this intrepid blogger!) had a quick workout and learned a routine. The dancers also signed autographs and took photos with some admirers who showed up before the workshop began.