Author Archives: RuthRiley


Whether in the United States, South Africa, the Philippines or Saudi Arabia, I have witnessed how sports not only breaks down barriers, but is also a powerful tool to build young women up.  The ball in and of itself has no bias.  It knows not the hands or feet by which it is being guided.  […]

The Evolution of Africa’s Basketball Transformation

Honoring the heritage of former African basketball players, celebrating the growth of the game, and teaching, equipping and inspiring the next generation. Legends like Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, and Manute Bol overcame incredible obstacles of hunger, poverty, disease and lack of basketball infrastructure to create the first path to the NBA from the continent of Africa. […]

Shining light on the Complex Conditions for Women in Saudi Arabia

  Imagine a woman covered head to toe in a loose fitting black robe (Abaya) with her head covered by a hijab so the only part of her body that you can see is that by which she is looking back at you . . . her eyes.  It is against the law for her […]

Humbled to be named a JCI Top Outstanding Young Person of the World

Looking over the audience at the Junior Chamber International (JCI) World Congress this past weekend in Leipzig, Germany, brought back fond memories of my experiences at the 2004 Olympics. It reminded me of the opening ceremonies, where the beauty and diversity that exists in our world was highlighted by the amazing culmination of countries, cultures, […]

Donating My Birthday!!

Since I am way past the period of my life where I expect gifts or get excited about adding another year to my age, I decided take the day and celebrate it by donating my birthday to one of my favorite charities!!  I have been a founding spokesperson with NothingButNets, and witnessed firsthand the devastating […]


Success in life is never an individual accomplishment—it is always a culmination of those who inspire you to chase your dreams, encourage you along the long road of achievement, and who impart the necessary knowledge.  There are also those who give you the physical tools, who grant you the opportunity, and last but not least […]

Veterans Day at Walter Reed & Quantico

As we pulled up to the gate at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, my mind began to trace back in time to December 2006 when my family found out that my sister would be transported back there from Iraq. She had left months before, armed with her Arabic language skills, her ability to fly […]

Back to South Africa

At first glance, my height, skin color, and even my accent screams a foreigner has come to the Nkomazi region of South Africa near the Swaziland border—yet my 4th trip back to this area ensures that I am not greeted as another Umfati Wemlungu (white woman), but rather I am embraced as a coach, sister […]

Basketball in Panama!

Each year I am amazed at the places I travel to, the people I meet, and the experiences I have all due to a little orange ball. Panama is now the newest stamp in my passport as I have had the opportunity to spend this past week there working along side two of the NBA’s […]

South African Basketball

This past month I have witnessed yet again just how powerful the platform of sports is as I traveled throughout South Africa and Namibia conducting clinics for various ages and using basketball as an avenue to teach valuable life lessons and build communities. In order to more accurately depict my experiences, I am going to […]