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Basketball Maui: Christian Stars Hold Camp for Kids


Each year the beautiful Hawaiian islands attract people from all over the world, but this summer it's not just the beaches drawing crowds.

Professional athletes from the NBA are teaming up in Maui to put on a summer basketball camp called Basketball Maui. The purpose of the camp: to share the gospel through the game and help kids build character and leadership skills.

"We come out, we work with the kids not only with basketball but staying true to their faith," Jeremy Tyler, with the Sacramento Kings, said.

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"Having the pro athletes here to provide obviously the excitement, number one. But then when you really get to know them and the kids to know their heart and the reason they come here is because they love God and want to serve God and use their gift, which is basketball to advance the kingdom of God. It's amazing what happens with their involvement," Ben Pragnell, Founder of Basketball Maui, said.

Various faith-based projects sponsor the camp, including Active Faith athletic apparel and the new movie "Midrange."

As the first Christian athletic apparel made by pro athletes, Active Faith exploded overnight when NBA star Jeremy Lin was photographed wearing their wristband that says "In Jesus Name I Play."

Sports fans responded and "Linsanity" took off. A photo of Lin wearing the band made the cover of Time, Sports Illustrated, ESPN and eventually splashed the brand across Taiwan's largest news network.

Lin has credited his "Lord and savior Jesus Christ," for his basketball accomplishments.

Another connection to the camp is the film "Midrange," about a college player who wants to play pro-basketball.

Former and current players are featured in the film and are showing it around the country.

Events like Basketball Maui also give the athletes a chance to share their testimonies along with the tempations that come with being a professional athlete.

"It's easy to be a professional basketball player. Its hard to be a Christian professional basketball player," Mike Penberthy, with the Los Angeles Lakers, said. "The battles you are facing are on steroids, everything you're facing is compounded and pushed higher."
BasketballMaui wrapped up the week with a celebrity basketball game where the NBA players battle it out for the families and youth that attended the camp to watch.

As the ministry continues to grow, the players hope to continue spreading their message of not being defined by their sport, but by their faith.

With the success of Basketball Maui 2014, organizers are shooting for an even bigger turnout next year.

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