Cuba

Shaq, Misty Copeland to travel to Cuba to work with young athletes

Former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal laughs with his former high school teammates during halftime of the boys' UIL Class 1A Division 1 state basketball final, Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas. O’Neal will travel to Cuba in June as part of a new sports envoy program with the U.S.
Former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal laughs with his former high school teammates during halftime of the boys' UIL Class 1A Division 1 state basketball final, Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas. O’Neal will travel to Cuba in June as part of a new sports envoy program with the U.S. AP

While Cuba is best known for producing great baseball players, the island will soon get a visit from one of the U.S.’s biggest basketball stars.

Retired NBA great Shaquille O’Neal, who won championships with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers, will go to Havana in June as part of a sports envoy program focused on Cuban youth, the White House announced Monday. For the first time, the U.S. Embassy in Havana will partner with Cuban Ministry of Sports for the program.

Ballerinas in Havana will also welcome a prestigious guest this year. Misty Copeland, the first African-American female principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre, will go to Cuba in November to lead dance clinics for minority youth and hold inclusion workshops for coaches.

She will focus on developing athletic programs for female youth, in addition to conducting master classes and speaking engagements.

The announcement was one of several made in a fact sheet disseminated by the White House while President Barack Obama met with Cuban leader Raúl Castro on Monday.

Read the Miami Herald’s coverage of President Obama’s meeting with Raúl Castro on Monday

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